The Yellow Ribbon Project has been a successful campaign for a decade. Ask any Singaporean on the streets and he or she is likely to know of the campaign! In fact, based on a public perception survey conducted in 2015, the Yellow Ribbon Project has achieved an awareness level of 95%, especially the flagship event, the Yellow Ribbon Prison Run.
In 2011, Singapore Prison Service (SPS) and SCORE hosted the Prison Service of Czech Republic (PSCR) when they attended the International Corrections & Prisons Association (ICPA) 13th Annual Conference held in Singapore. Little did we know, the Yellow Ribbon Prison Run left such a deep impression on them that that PSCR was inspired to develop their own version of the Yellow Ribbon Project! After a few years of planning, PSCR successfully launched the Yellow Ribbon Prison Run on 8 May 2016 in Prague, Czech Republic. It was called the ‘Yellow Ribbon Run – Run from Prejudices’.
Organised as part of the Volkswagen Prague Marathon, Run from Prejudices drew inspiration from the success of Singapore’s Yellow Ribbon Prison Run, especially how it was able to engender and mobilise the community in a collective effort to support offenders’ rehabilitation and the social mission of giving ex-offenders second chances.
A total of 8 teams of 4 runners participated in the run in the form of a relay. Every member of the team had to run a leg of the full marathon – 3 members to run 10km each and the last member to run the last 12.5km of the marathon. Runners in each relay team comprised serving inmates, ex-offenders, staff of PSCR and representatives from the corporations. The concept of the relay run was indeed meaningful as it rallied individuals from different segments of society to run towards a common goal, and away from prejudices. It was also interesting to note that PSCR had full faith and trust in their inmates by allowing them to be released momentarily for the run. The Run from Prejudices received strong support from the Ministry of Justice in Czech Republic and generated much positive feedback. In fact, it also attracted interest from neighbouring European countries!
For the Singapore team that participated in the run, there were 2 officers from SCORE, and 3 officers the Singapore Prison Service. Mr Leslie Jin (CARE Network Office) completed 10km for the marathon while CEO SCORE, Mr Stanley Tang, finished strong for the team when he touched the finishing line after completing the last 12.5km.
It was surely an enriching experience not to forget!