Fewer employers are discriminating against ex-offenders and inmates, but more needs to be done


You know NTUC has been engaging different groups of workers through Every Worker Matters Conversations right? Recently they just engaged our ex-offenders and inmates with Yellow Ribbon Singapore (YRSG) and Singapore Prison Services (SPS). 

The first session was held on 13 January 2023 and was attended by almost 140 participants comprising ex-offenders, employers, aftercare partners and union representatives. The following two sessions, held on 13 February and 9 March, were held at Changi Prison Complex, where over 50 inmates were engaged. 

NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng, who was present at the session, shared an update via Facebook

More support needed to tackle discrimination and shift mindsets 

Ex-offenders shared that they still face discrimination in hiring practices and within the workplace, even if it is not as apparent as before. While more employees are open to hiring ex-offenders, the dialogues found that more can be done to encourage and educate staff and colleagues to foster a more understanding and inclusive work environment.

During the sessions, inmates also shared that while pre-release training and job placement support have become more accessible to them, more support for on-the-job training is most important in helping them adapt to their new jobs, especially after prolonged periods away from work.

Ex-offenders and inmates also need support in holistic areas beyond employment and training 

Beyond just support for training and employment, participants during the dialogues also highlighted that support in other areas such as accommodation, mentoring, financial planning and family support is vital in reducing the risk of re-offending in the long term. 

Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) Patrick Tay assured ex-offenders and inmates that the NTUC’s Training and Placement Ecosystem which includes bodies like NTUC LearningHub (NTUC LHUB) and NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability Insititute) will continue to support these groups of workers in their transition back to work, together with YRSG and SPS as partners. 

“Building the pool of inclusive employers, job retention, and career progression are longer-term challenges that the Labour Movement hopes to address together with employers, unions, and partners so that ex-offenders can look to their jobs as a source of confidence and purpose. This begins with fair employment practices, which we will continue to push for all segments of workers, ex-offenders included,” shared ASG Patrick Tay. 

Above all, integrating ex-offenders back into the workforce takes a whole of society’s effort. Let’s give a chance to those who want to change, let’s work together to create more opportunities for ex-offenders finding a job ok! 

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