When a loved one is sentenced to imprisonment, families are often required to make adjustments to their lives, making arrangements to take on the responsibilities of the incarcerated person often within a short time frame. The imprisonment of a loved one is likely to be a painful and confusing period of time for everyone involved. This is especially so if families are going through these changes for the very first time, unfamiliar with prison administrative changes and the emotional distress they are likely to face.
With that in mind, SACA and the State Courts have launched a joint initiative, family-connect @ State Courts, to provide first-level information and referral services to families who require assistance upon the sentencing of their loved ones, thereby moving assistance upstream.
The initiative was launched on Friday, 24 November 2017, at SACA's Appreciation Night dinner by SACA's Patron, The Honourable the Chief justice Sundaresh Menon, as well as SACA's Chairman, Mr Jeffrey Beh.
SACA’s volunteers will be trained in attending skills and knowing how to attend to highly emotional and distressed families. Volunteers and staff will be situated at the family-connect booth at State Courts to provide information and assistance to families. Should further support be necessary, volunteers will refer the families to SACA’s case managers, on a case-by-case basis. The pilot run of the programme will commence from January 2018 to June 2018.
The night also saw the launch of the RISE series of books, a collaborative project between SACA and a group of final year students from the Diploma of Social Work, Nanyang Polytechnic. The imprisonment of a loved one may bring about questions such as ‘’Why did this happen?”, “What happen next?”, “Where can I turn to for help?” and so on. Through the RISE series of books, we hope to inspire and support families of first-time offenders.
The Association is thankful to the students for a brilliant effort and job well done. We hope to distribute the books to partner agencies, community partners, as well as schools, to reach out to those facing a difficult time in their lives.