Singapore — Workers’ Party MP Jamus Lim (Sengkang GRC) took to Facebook on Friday (Feb 5) to clarify his Parliament question earlier in the week on extending the Yellow Ribbon Project.
In a recent Parliamentary Question, I asked if there were any plans on extending the Yellow Ribbon Project—an existing…
During the Parliament session on Monday and Tuesday (Feb 1 and 2), Associate Professor Lim asked if there were any plans on extending the Yellow Ribbon Project. His suggested extension was that the Government remove records of the criminal history of ex-offenders convicted of non-violent crimes – so that they need not declare them when seeking employment.
The Yellow Ribbon Project aims to rehabilitate ex-offenders and help reintegrate them into society.
Minister for Home Affairs and Law K Shanmugam posted on Facebook on Thursday evening (Feb 4) about the suggestion. He said that the approach may not be wise especially considering how non-violent crimes can be extended to include “sexual grooming, outrage of modesty, criminal breach of trust and theft in dwelling”.
Mr Shanmugam brought up the case of a 29-year-old tutor who was recently charged with molesting a three-year-old girl during class and asked A/Prof Lim if that man should be allowed to work without his future employers having access to his record.
[The risks in MP Jamus Lim’s suggestion that records of criminal history of ex-offenders be removed]
MP Jamus Lim…
A/Prof Lim responded on Friday (Feb 5) to clarify his suggestion, saying that his question was more on expanding the conversation on crime and rehabilitation, and to “understand the nuances of the current policy stance”. He wanted to enquire if there was room to expand the scope of the existing programme.
He said that he was focusing the discussion to be aimed at those with petty-theft offences, or less severe crimes. He was inspired by residents who were unable to attain jobs related to security due to pretty-theft offences in their youth.
While there was a risk in removing the criminal history, A/Prof Lim expressed his concern that, if it remained, they would not be able to reintegrate successfully into society. Having permanent labels for those who remain crime-free may also increase their chances of reoffending.
He admitted that there should have been clarification of his suggestion and he acknowledged that there are risks involved with those charged with the crimes Mr Shanmugam pointed out. He suggested the inclusion of exceptions, such as restricting those convicted of sex crimes from working with children, or those of drunk driving from transport.
With these conditions, it would greatly benefit those facing discrimination due to their background. A/Prof Lim said that he would like to ask the ministry to consider his suggestion, while adding on the additional conditions.
Denise Teh is an editorial intern at The Independent SG. /TISG
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