Rehabilitation is a challenging journey for offenders but with strong support from the community as well as the availability of holistic in-care and after-care programmes, they will have a better chance for reintegration back into the community and minimise the likelihood of re-offending.
In partnership with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Singapore Prison Service (SPS) and community organisations, M³ agencies provide holistic support for offenders, ex-offenders, as well as their families so that they will have opportunities for progress. This workstream is led by Associate Professor Dr Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of National Development.
The FITRAH1 (Family and Inmates Throughcare Assistance Haven) programme by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) aims to provide integrated and holistic support for inmates as well as their families - from in-care to aftercare. The families will be connected to the necessary network of assistance while their spouses who are in prison are duly supported with in-care services.
A total of 385 families have benefitted from services offered by FITRAH, which include befriending, referral for financial assistance, Islamic learning at Mosques and referral to MENDAKI for employment and tuition for their children.
To date, more than 330 volunteers, including religious counsellors, have been recruited to support inmates and former inmates under FITRAH.
FITRAH continues to provide services via online platforms in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Its services include:
Structured in-care religious programmes, including customised Friday Sermons
FITRAH deploys Imams/Khatib for Friday prayers & Hari Raya prayers, and religious counsellors for counselling sessions with inmates. There are currently 130 religious counsellors.
These programmes address relevant issues and matters such as the pursuit of religious guidance and the righteous path, as well as the importance of staying optimistic in preparation for life after release.
FITRAH has recruited more than 200 community befrienders to conduct joint home visits to families of those incarcerated by Community Befrienders and Yellow Ribbon Community Project (YRCP) volunteers, and to offer befriending services to inmates in prisons and upon release.
FITRAH officers and volunteers are deployed to receive ex-offenders at the prison gate and give them a Back-To-FITRAH package which includes fidyah2 voucher, an EZ-link card, a prayer mat and an information package on assistance available. 320 ex-offenders have benefitted from this initiative.
Partnership with Mosques
FITRAH partners with our mosques for a referral process for families of inmates to the network of 31 mosques disbursing zakat financial assistance. At the mosques, families of inmates will be connected to support programmes, as well as Islamic Education programmes under aLIVE, ADIL and Home-based Islamic Learning. The mosques may also refer these families to MENDAKI’s programmes (for e.g. MENDAKI Tuition Scheme, SENSE programmes).
The FITRAH office is located at En-Naeem Mosque. You can also click here to get in touch with FITRAH today.
Family Excellence Circle (FEC)
A Family Excellence Circle (FEC) group was specially curated by MENDAKI for caregivers of children whose parents are/were incarcerated, to equip families of offenders with school-going children.
The pilot group, which commenced in July 2019, had 12 members from nine families – this created a safe and non-judgemental environment where members could engage in open communication and sharing of experiences.
While the adults were engaged in the FEC, the children participated in Art Therapy sessions, where they delved in arts and crafts to express their feelings.
FEC members and their children had been connected to other MENDAKI programmes and services, such as the MENDAKI Tuition Scheme, Mentoring @ MTS and other developmental activities held at MENDAKI’s satellite centres.
Reintegration of Ex-offenders
To assist ex-offenders and their families in successfully reintegrating into the society, Malay Activity Executive Committees Council (MESRA) has helped to recruit more Malay volunteers from PA’s grassroots network to provide support to YRCP and its outreach efforts. This initiative was piloted in M³@Bedok, M³@Woodlands and M³@Jurong. Now, more than 30% of YRCP members in these pilot towns are Malays, as compared to 24.8% previously.
MESRA also offers SHIOK Series courses to ex-offenders and their family members, so that they can pick up new skills and interact with other members of the community.
1The word “fitrah” in Arabic and Malay refers to a state of purity and innocence, the original form of all human beings.