Shared ex-offenders' database for agencies

Shared ex-offenders' database for agencies

Ex-offenders will soon find it more convenient to get help from agencies that offer support for them.

With a common database, they will not have to repeat their personal details when they go to different agencies.

The database will consolidate data from eight agencies, including the Singapore Prison Service and Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises.

"This will enable (stakeholders) to work together and manage the aftercare arrangements for the individual ex-offender in a comprehensive manner," said Second Minister for Home Affairs Masagos Zulkifli yesterday at the workplan meeting of a network of agencies that help to rehabilitate ex-offenders.

The Offender Reintegration Management System will be ready in phases, starting from the end of the year, said Mr Masagos.

Welcoming the system, service providers said they can optimise the use of their resources when they know what other help the ex-offenders get.

"Sometimes the ex-offenders may tell you untruths and you may not know. But with such a system, we'll be able to see for ourselves if he is telling the truth," said Mr Patrick Ng, executive director of Industrial and Services Co-operative Society, which helps ex-offenders reintegrate into society.

The system could also prevent people from "shopping" for help at different agencies, he told The Straits Times.

Mr Steven Tham, assistant director for aftercare at the Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association, said: "For example, another agency may be asking the ex-offender to go for job interviews, and then the ex-offender tells us he needs financial help.

"We wouldn't want to help those who go around to ask for money but don't want to work."

Knowing what help has been given also makes it easier for other agencies to follow up, he said.

Meanwhile, more people are volunteering to help reintegrate ex-offenders into society.

At the workplan seminar yesterday, the Community Action for the Rehabilitation of Ex-offenders Network, which turns 15 this year, said that it had 1,700 volunteers last year, up from 1,300 in 2010.

This article was first published on April 30, 2015.
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