The dominant narrative about policing and prisons in our society is that they keep us safe. Prisons are often considered a necessary evil at worst, or believed to be rehabilitative at best. The Singapore Prison Services motto is “Rehab, Renew, Restart” (it is noteworthy that they are positioned as a service). The Singapore Police Force’s stated vision is “to make Singapore the safest place in the world”.
But do the police and prisons really keep us safe? Do they protect victims, support healing, rehabilitate offenders, and deter harm? What are the effects of the prison system on our minds, families, communities and economy? Surveillance, coercion, punishment, segregation and isolation are tools of policing and prison that don’t only affect prisoners, but all of us in society. Join us for this reading group where we will critically examine criminalisation and the modern-day prison system; and consider the possibilities of transformative justice and a world without prisons.