Jun 9, 2009

Yellow Ribbon Project in Singapore

Reentry projects in Singapore? Yes, and how much more advanced they are than our own public outreach efforts!

Singapore launched the Yellow Ribbon Project back in 2000, at the behest of the nation's president. The project is a huge public awareness campaign about the challenges of returning from prison to community. The project got its name from "the popular song 'Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree'. It's lyrics "I'm really still in prison and my love, she holds the key, a simple yellow ribbon's what I need to set me free" aptly describes the constraints facing ex-offenders after they are released from jail."

What does this project involve?

  • Regular citizens purchasing and wearing a yellow ribbon to show their support for offering second chances and acceptance for ex-offenders. The funds raised go toward rehabilitation and reintegration programmes for ex-offenders and their families.

  • Film premieres to humanize the stories of ex-offenders.

  • An annual "Yellow Ribbon Prison Run" that "aims to encourage inmates/ex-offenders to maintain the pace to face adversities in their reintegration journey while fellow Singaporeans to keep their heads high to ride through rough times together. "

  • Community Art exhibitions.

We can take example from Singapore in their success raising public awareness of the challenges of reentry and creating large-scale public support for the idea of "second chances." We'd be curious to hear about other examples, so please pass them along!