Overview of the Chapter

A group of social workers from various organizations in the criminal justice system met on 17 Sep 2018 to discuss issues they faced on the ground and their wishes for the sector. Exactly two years later, on 18 Sep 2020, the group achieved its full Chapter status at the SASW AGM 2020.

The Chapter carries on the torch with the words from a social work pioneer in Singapore, the late Mr K. V. Veloo:

The social work group in correctional settings both institutional and community based has grown in strength. SASW should not delay in setting up a chapter for social workers in correctional setting. We need to continue to make bold inroads into the penal system and drug rehabilitation centres.

What is Criminal Justice Social Work (CJSW)?
Our Chapter’s definition of CJSW:

Social work practice operating within or with the criminal justice system that focuses on service delivery where offenders enter, journey through, and leave the criminal justice system. This particular field of social work practice functions within contexts that include direct practice, administrative, management, policy planning positions in organisations that engage with individuals involved in the criminal justice system.

Criminal Justice social workers are involved in various stages of the criminal justice process, such as, the preventive stage (e.g. diversionary programmes), community and in-care services, and after-care services (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Where Criminal Justice social workers are found in Singapore

Forensic social work encompasses social work practice in both civil (e.g. provision of court reports in domestic violence cases in the Family Justice Courts) and criminal justice settings, and is one of the many specialities available in social work practice. CJSW, which focuses on social work practice with individuals involved in the criminal justice system, is a subset of forensic social work (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: Criminal Justice Social Work, Forensic Social Work and Social Work Practice

Objectives of the Chapter:

  • Promote Criminal Justice Social Work (CJSW) through different platforms, in response to the changing criminal justice landscape
  • Create opportunities for learning and encouraging collaboration within and beyond the Criminal Justice Sector to further CJSW Practice
  • Champion effective practices within CJSW

Members of Chapter: 2019-2021

Appointment in SASW NameOrganisation
ChairpersonTroy Jack ThevathasanSingapore Prison Service
Vice-ChairpersonRoger Tan Boon MengInstitute of Mental Health
TreasurerOng Chee Khoon ChavezYR Industries - Selarang Halfway House
SecretariatNurhafidzah MD KamalState Courts
SecretariatRafidah Mohamed AyobSingapore Prison Service
Committee MemberAlvin TanTembusu Home
Committee MemberRoziawati Bte IbrahimSingapore After Care Association
Committee MemberTan Bee KeowSingapore Children’s Society
Committee MemberJaena TeoCare Community Services Society
Committee MemberTian Ching ChingInstitute of Mental Health
Committee MemberJoan FangSingapore Prison Service
Committee MemberWong LilingMinistry of Social and Family Development
Committee MemberZoe TEEMinistry of Social and Family Development
Committee MemberBenjamin YeoFei Yue Community Services

Who are our activities targeted at?

  • Social workers interested in the criminal justice sector or issues faced by individuals involved in the criminal justice system
  • Other social service professionals may participate in selected Chapter activities

Areas of interest

  • Improving service outcomes in the Criminal Justice sector
  • Evidence-informed practices in the rehabilitation of offenders
  • Contemporary issues in the Criminal Justice System
  • Organised a few learning journeys and informative sessions.
  • Proposed a definition of CJSW in Singapore: Click to view article

Criteria to Join Us:

  • Social workers who have been or are currently working in the criminal justice sector, or who share a keen interest in this CJSW.

If you are keen to become a member or friend of the CJSW Chapter, please drop us an email at SWchapters@sasw.org.sg and address to “Criminal Justice Social Work Chapter Chair”