Minister for Home Affairs Mr K Shanmugam had lunch prepared by inmates at the Changi Tea Room today when he visited the Changi Prison Complex for a tour of the Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises (SCORE)’s facilities. Accompanied by Senior Minister of State Mr Desmond Lee and SCORE’s Chief Executive Officer Mr Stanley Tang, Minister Shanmugam visited a laundry and bakery operating inside the prison compound.

They may not hail from the world’s top culinary schools, but they sure won a following in Changi Prison Complex’s Changi Tea Room on 13 October 2016.

A group of rookie chefs, trained by experienced professional chefs, prepared and served up an impressive and well-plated three-course meal that was a delight to both the eyes and tastebuds.

They are serving time in prison for mistakes they had made, but like everyone else, they desire a shot at making good and turning their lives around.

The Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises (SCORE) kitchen is their training ground. A culinary career upon their release is their vision of hope beyond the prison walls.

Considering how these ex-offenders had won over the hearts, and stomachs, of the company they had for lunch that afternoon, it seems SCORE has nailed this training programme right.

“Essentially, it’s about what we can do to make a difference from Day One, such that they come in to serve time but they go out enriched,” said Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law Mr K Shanmugam who was at the Changi Prison Complex for a tour of SCORE’s facilities.

Accompanied by Senior Minister of State Mr Desmond Lee, SCORE’s Chief Executive Office Mr Stanley Tang and Deputy Secretary (Policy) of the Ministry of Home Affairs Mr Puah Kok Keong, Minister Shanmugam visited the premise’s laundry, which is owned by a subsidiary under SCORE. He also observed inmates working at the Pure Eddiction Workshop, a privately-run bakery that produces cakes and pastries for their customers which range from well-known cafes, hotels and established caterers in the F&B industry.

Pure Eddiction had set up its workshop and started its operations in the prison complex in 2005, under the SCORE’s Private Sector Participation Scheme.

To better equip ex-offenders for re-entry into the workforce after their release, SCORE, in collaboration with the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) and Workforce Singapore (WSG), provides pre-employment preparation for inmates to help them acquire relevant skills in the Hospitality, Food & Beverage (F&B), Logistics and Manufacturing Industries.

Part of a throughcare approach in preparing ex-offenders for employment and reintegration into the society, this pre-release preparation includes hands-on job training in a real work environment set up within the prison complex, job placement or skills matching, and a facilitation of job interviews.

“They (the inmates) committed offences and they are paying their dues. But it doesn’t mean that we forget about them and not help them,” Minister Shanmugam said during a dialogue with leaders and ground officers of SCORE held after the tour.

Many inmates, according to Prison and SCORE officers, desire to do well and start afresh.

“We teach them work ethics and responsibilities,” shared one officer Mr Peh. “We tell the inmates that every little thing they do in here, every part that they assemble correctly, benefits the society and helps boost others’ confidence in them and their fellow inmates. Many really work hard and want to do well.”