Mr Leon Perera (Aljunied):
Mdm Chairperson, I recently filed a Parliamentary Question (PQ) on the use of extra-judicial caning to punish aggravated or major prison offences. While I accept that there is a need for in-prison disincentives against dangerous behaviours, in my opinion, there is too little independent oversight in this process.
The Institutional Discipline Advisory Committee reviews the recommended strokes. The Commissioner also reviews the findings and has the authority to vary punishments. However, the process starts and ends within the Singapore Prison Service, which investigates, presses charges and recommends punishment. Can reform with a judicial element be studied, so we have a greater oversight mechanism? This is important in respect of caning, which is a harsh punishment.
On caning, lastly, according to one published account, there is a practice that sometimes happens of requiring inmates to “thank” the prison staff after being caned. I am not alleging that this is the case. But I would like to ask the Government if this is a current practice and, if so, would the Government consider stopping it, as it is unnecessary and seems of questionable rehabilitative value, to put it mildly.
3 March 2022
Ministry of Home Affairs