28, Staff Sergeant, Personal Supervisor at Changi Women’s Prison
I joined the prison service when I was 25. I was looking for a more fulfilling and exciting career and turned towards the public sector in search of it.
My day-to-day duties include unlocking inmates’ cells for their daily movements, [and facilitating] interview sessions with their lawyers, visits from family members, counselling sessions... and rehabilitative programmes that the inmates are scheduled to attend.
Once the busy part of the day is over, I see the inmates assigned to me to check on how they’re doing. We come up with solutions to some of their problems together. Common issues revolve around seeking employment and financial assistance after release.
It’s essential for a prison officer to be both firm and fair when handling inmates. The ability to empathise with people is also helpful as sometimes, in order to help an inmate, we have to truly understand their concerns and work with them to find the best way to help.
Through my interactions with the inmates, I’ve come to realise that sometimes, it’s not only bad decisions, but also bad situations, that landed some of them in prison. However, I believe with commitment to positive change, as well as pro-social support from families and the community, everyone will be able to lead a fulfilling and law-abiding life.
People are usually surprised when I tell them what I do. Lots of people have also told me that prison sounds like a dangerous environment for a woman to be in. But really, I think I’ve become a more disciplined, confident and caring person since joining the prison service.
I feel like female prison officers are just as capable as our male counterparts. At the end of the day, regardless of gender, what really matters is that we do what we can as individuals to make a difference in the lives of the inmates.”
“I think I’ve become a more disciplined, confident and caring person since joining the prison service.”