The Singapore Prison Service retrofitted 25 cells with mobility-aid features like handrails, grab bars, anti-slip flooring and nurse call help button. State media Straits Times however attributed the double in elderly inmates due to an ageing population. – the Statestimes Review
The Statestimes Review also said, ‘Due to insufficient CPF retirement fund, Singaporean elderly are turning to crimes to get free lodging and food from the prison. According to state media Straits Times, the number of elderly prisoners above the age of 60 have doubled in the past 5 years from 359 at 2.8% of the prison population in 2012, to 651, or 5.3%,in 2016.’
With no jobs, no money, little CPF savings, Medisave as good as untouchable for minor illnesses that did not incur more than a few thousand dollars, the senior citizens are just following the trend of developed western countries like the USA, commit minor crimes to get free lodging, free food and free medical from the prison institutions.
The Singapore Prison is quite forward thinking, thinking ahead, planning ahead to cater for this new trend. Unfortunately 25 cells may not be enough given the size of the senior citizen population now about 1m and growing. The Prison authority should be more generous in the expansion of facilities for the seniors that are planning to make the prison their permanent home. A couple of blocks of HDB flats may be the solution and may shall be inadequate in view of the rising demand.
Senior citizens are getting innovative and creative in planning for their retirement, in the comfort of Changi Prison, everything taken care of. And the facilities have been upgraded to make sure they did not slip and fall. Comforting thought.