Ragini An­pazha­han

28, Staff Sergeant, Per­sonal Su­per­vi­sor at Changi Women’s Prison

CLEO (Singapore) - - BEAUTY -

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.”

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