Minister of Home Affairs K Shanmugam shed light on the planning and design of prisons in Singapore following the release of CNA’s documentary on Changi Prison earlier this year.
He said on 7 July that the prison environment and regime are carefully planned and designed to reduce hygiene and safety concerns and issues as much as possible, according to CNA.
Shanmugam was speaking in parliament on 4 July, addressing concerns about the lack of fans and mattresses for inmates inside their prison cells.
He said that due to hygiene issues, it is not ideal to have mattresses inside the cell. As for the lack of fans, if the fans were installed inside the cells, they could be taken apart by the prisoners, with the parts potentially capable of being used as weapons or “potential anchor points” for harming themselves.
As such, a combination of natural and mechanical ventilation is implemented in the cells, with the straw mats that are provided to the inmates, helping to minimise security threats, as the prisoners will not be able to hide contraband items.
Officers run the prisons, not gangs
As for the inmates who require extra care, Shanmugam highlighted that they will be provided with beds at medical wards and correctional united that are catered for assisted living.
Comparing the Singapore prison system to other countries, Shanmugam said that in Singapore, “our prisons officers run out prisons, not gangs.”