Every year, more than 9,000 ex-offenders complete their sentences and are released from the various prisons and drug rehabilitation centres (DRCs).
It is disheartening that ex-offenders have to live with the stigma of having served time behind bars when they are released from prison, one that can often be more punishing than the prison sentence itself. Many ex-offenders, once released, find themselves literally stepping into a second prison. This time it would be a prison with invisible bars, of suspicion, of mistrust and of discrimination.
The best rehabilitation regime during incarceration is of no use if ex-offenders find themselves rejected at every turn when they are released into the larger community. Through the Yellow Ribbon Project, we hope to promote a more accepting society, one that is willing to give ex-offenders a second chance at making good. It is important that we help unlock the second prison for our inmates, even as we let them out of the physical one.
Rehabilitative and aftercare programmes are the supporting mechanisms to facilitate the reintegration of an individual back to the community and his family. Nevertheless, these efforts alone will not be adequate in the long run. The community plays an important part in helping to create a stable social environment where amenable ex-offenders and their families can feel a sense of belonging and find the hope to start afresh.
Hence, there was a need for a concerted and coordinated approach towards creating awareness, generating acceptance and inspiring action within the community.