Reformative Training in Singapore: When will it be Ordered?
What is Reformative Training (RT)?
Reformative training (RT) is a rehabilitative sentencing option. The courts are empowered by section 305 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) to impose RT in lieu of any other sentence.
Who is Eligible for RT?
An offender above the age of 14 but below the age of 21 is eligible for RT.
For repeat offenders who were previously sent to a juvenile rehabilitation centre for their previous offence, the age range to be granted RT is 14 to 16 years old.
First-time offenders between the age of 14 and 16 are not eligible for RT. Other forms of rehabilitative sentences (which are less harsh compared to RT) are usually more suitable for them due to their young age.
What Happens During RT?
During RT, the youth offender undergoes a comprehensive rehabilitation programme in a closed and structured environment in a Reformative Training Centre (RTC).
However, as compared to other rehabilitative sentences such as community-based sentencing options (e.g. Mandatory Treatment Order or probation), which are rendered spent after they are completed, RT results in a criminal record.
RT does not allow an offender to remain in society either. This is unlike community-based sentencing which allows offenders to remain in society while serving their sentence (by performing unpaid community service under the supervision of an authorised officer).
RT occurs in 2 phases:
- The Residential Phase; and
- The Supervision Phase.
1. Residential Phase
Offenders are detained in an RTC during the Residential Phase. During this period of detention, offenders undergo:
- Academic training and
- Vocational training
Other activities include:
- Religious counselling;
- The Family Involvement Programme; and
- The Community Re-integration Programme (Should the offender decide to pursue academic training)
A Personal Supervisor monitors the offender’s welfare and behaviour while providing him/her with help and guidance.
Offenders who intend to pursue their academic endeavours are transferred to Tanah Merah Prison (Prison School) where they may sit for the relevant examinations.
The offender may be detained for at least 6 months and up to 54 months, depending on what the court deems as most appropriate for his/her rehabilitation.
After being released from the RTC, the offender will enter the Supervision Phase.
2. Supervision Phase
During the Supervision Phase, offenders are expected to work, study or perform community work under the guidance and supervision of Prisons Reintegration Officers until their release.
The supervision period will start from offender’s date of release from the RTC. During the supervision period, the offender may be required to comply with certain orders such as:
- Providing hair or urine samples for testing
- Staying indoors at home (or other place of residence) as required
- Wearing an electronic transmitting device to allow the offender’s whereabouts to be electronically monitored
- Allowing RTC officers to enter the offender’s home (or other place of residence) to check on the offender
The earliest the supervision period can end is:
- The day that the offender’s supervision period ends;
- The day that the offender is discharged from the supervision order; or
- The day that is the end of 4 years from the RTC date.
What if the offender fails to comply with the requirements in the supervision order?
Offenders who fail to comply with the requirements in the supervision order may be recalled to their RTC (or any other RTC) for re-detention. Recall orders can be issued by the Commissioner of Prisons or by the RTC Review Committee.
For a single failure to comply with the requirements, offenders can be re-detained for up to 10 days. For 2 or more failures however, offenders can be re-detained for up to 10 days for each failure, capped at 30 days total.
The end of the entire re-detention period cannot be on a date that is later than:
- 3 years after the date on which the offender’s sentence of RT took effect; or
- 6 months after the date of the offender’s re-detention; whichever ends later.
The re-detention period also cannot extend beyond 54 months after the date of the person’s sentence of RT.
When a recall order is issued, the offender’s supervision period will:
- Be suspended until the end of the re-detention period (for recall orders issued by the Commissioner of Prisons); or
- End when the offender reports to the RTC for re-detention (for recall orders issued by the RTC Review Committee).
Offenders who do not report to the specified RTC for re-detention on the date stated in the recall order will be treated as unlawfully at large.
What Must the Court Consider Before Imposing RT?
Whether the dominant consideration for the sentence is rehabilitation
RT predominantly serves as a rehabilitative sentencing option for youth offenders. However, the court has held that while RT aims to be rehabilitative, it is in fact punishing in nature. Therefore, the general approach to RT is that it should be imposed “cautiously”.
If the offence is so cruel and the courts think that the young offender cannot be reformed at all, then deterrence (deterring the offender from committing further crimes by isolating him from society) is the main sentencing consideration.
The punishment stated by the law (usually imprisonment) may then be the appropriate sentence. If so, rehabilitative sentences will not be taken into consideration, i.e. RT would unlikely be granted.
Instead, RT may only be granted where the dominant consideration in sentencing is rehabilitation.
The circumstances of the case
Following which, in deciding between granting probation (which is another rehabilitative sentencing option) and RT for young offenders, the following considerations are relevant:
- Seriousness of the offence
- Culpability of the offender
- Existence of past offences
- Nature of the rehabilitation best suited for the offender
- Availability of familial support in the rehabilitative efforts
- Any other special reasons or need for rehabilitation
- Character of offender
- Circumstances of offence
In particular, the seriousness of the offence and culpability of the offender would affect the appropriateness of the courts granting probation.
The Commissioner of Prisons’ recommendations on whether RT should be imposed
In addition, the court must call for and consider any report submitted by the Commissioner of Prisons (or any person authorised to submit it on his behalf) before imposing any sentence of reformative training.
The report should contain details of the:
- Offender’s physical and mental condition
- Offender’s suitability for RT; and
- Nature of rehabilitation recommended for the offender.
If the court has not received this report, it may keep the offender in custody for up to a month to enable the report to be submitted.
After considering these factors, the courts would then have to be satisfied that it is necessary for the offender’s reformation, and for prevention of crime, that the offender undergoes a period of training in a RTC.
This means that a balance between rehabilitation and deterrence (explained above) has to be struck, else the sentencing would not be appropriate.
Can a Sentence of RT expire?
If the offender is already serving a sentence of RT, that sentence of RT imposed on the offender will expire if:
- A sentence of corrective training is imposed on them;
- Another sentence of RT is imposed upon them; or
- The offender is detained according to an order made under the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act.
A sentence of RT will not expire if the offender is sentenced to imprisonment while still serving that sentence of RT. That sentence of RT will instead run at the same time as the sentence of imprisonment.
Should you need further advice specific to your case, seeking legal advice is recommended. A criminal lawyer would be able to advise you on your position and whether RT could apply for your case.
- Police Investigation Process in Singapore
- When Can the Police Arrest Someone?: Arrestable and Non-Arrestable Offences in Singapore
- Police Arrest Procedure in Singapore
- Can a Civilian Arrest a Criminal in Singapore?
- Is Lying to the Police or Authorities an Offence in Singapore?
- Surrender of Passport to the Police and How to Get It Back
- What to Do If You’re Being Investigated for a Criminal Offence in Singapore
- Can You Say No to a Lie Detector Test in Singapore? And Other FAQs
- What Should You Do If You Witness a Crime in Singapore?
- Do You Have a "Right to Remain Silent" to the Police in Singapore?
- Extradition: What if You Flee after Committing Crime in Singapore?
- Warrant of Arrest: What to Do If It is Issued Against You in Singapore
- Search Warrant: The Issuance and Execution of It in Singapore
- Criminal Compensation in Singapore
- What Can I Do to Protect Myself in Self-Defence in Singapore?
- Claiming Trial as an Accused
- Mitigation Plea
- Pleading Guilty in Singapore: Consequences & Withdrawal of Plea
- Guide to Filing a Criminal Appeal in Singapore
- Presidential Clemency in Singapore
- Probation: Eligibility and Whether It Leaves a Criminal Record
- Reformative Training in Singapore: When will it be Ordered?
- Visiting a Loved One in Prison or On Death Row in Singapore
- 7 Detention Orders in Singapore and When Will They be Ordered?
- Consequences of Receiving a Stern Warning in Singapore
- Are You Eligible for a Mandatory Treatment Order (MTO)?
- Can I Represent Myself in a Criminal Court Case in Singapore and How?
- Caning in Singapore: Judicial, School & Parental Corporal Punishment
- Criminal Motion: What is It and How to File One in Singapore
- Getting Parole (Early Prison Release) in Singapore
- Repatriation or Deportation from Singapore: How Does It Work?
- Legal Age for Sex in Singapore and Common Sexual Offences
- Accused of Molest: Outrage of Modesty in Singapore
- What Can Victims of Sexual Harassment in Singapore Do?
- What is the Law on Sexting in Singapore?
- Revenge Porn: What If Your Nudes are Leaked in Singapore?
- Crime of Voyeurism in Singapore (Penalties and Defences)
- Is it illegal to visit prostitutes in Singapore?
- Is Watching, Downloading or Filming Porn Illegal in Singapore?
- Singapore's Drug Laws: Possession, Consumption and Trafficking
- When Can You Legally Gamble (In Public or Online) in Singapore?
- Is Vaping Illegal in Singapore?
- DUI: Here are the Penalties for Drink-Driving in Singapore
- Legal Drinking Age in Singapore and Other Drinking-Related Laws
- Singapore's Legal Smoking Age and Common Smoking Offences
- The Offence of Human Trafficking in Singapore and Its Penalties
- Murder vs Culpable Homicide in Singapore: What's the Difference?
- Is Suicide Illegal in Singapore? Will I be Punished for Trying?
- Is it illegal to feed stray animals in Singapore?
- Criminal Intimidation: Penalties for Making Threats in Singapore
- What are Sham Marriages and Are They Illegal in Singapore?
- Public Assemblies and Processions in Singapore: Police Permits and the Public Order Act
- What is the Offence of Rioting?
- Voluntarily Causing Hurt Penalties in Singapore (Non-Arrestable)
- Misbehaving in Public: 5 Things You Need to Know
- Is it Legal for Drivers to Carpool in Singapore?
- Complete Guide to E-Scooter and PMD Laws for Singapore Riders
- Is Joining a Gang Illegal in Singapore?: Being Recruited and Penalties
- What Happens If You’re Caught Speeding in Singapore?
- Charged with a Traffic Offence in Singapore: What to Do
- Penalties for Committing Theft in Singapore
- Road Rage: What is It and How are Offenders Sentenced in Singapore
- Singapore Fake News Laws: Guide to POFMA (Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act)
- Laws and Penalties for Doxxing in Singapore (With Examples)
- Littering and Killer Litter Offences: Here are the Penalties in Singapore
- Organised Crimes: Penalties/Orders Syndicates Face in Singapore
- Animal Cruelty in Singapore: Offences, Penalties & How to Report
- Penalties for Dishonest Misappropriation of Property in Singapore
- Penalties for Financing Terrorist Operations in Singapore