This book tells a story of successful prison reform that brought the recidivism rate of prisoners down from 44% to 24%. In the process of this reform, the entire Prison Service was transformed from a custody focused mindset to a rehabilitation centred culture. This change was wrought despite the lack of enthusiasm of the then political leadership.
The author describes his personal role in the reform effort, the methodology used to engender change in organizational culture and the struggles for the soul of the prison service and the hearts and minds of all those involved. These include organizations involved in the aftercare of ex-offenders, volunteers who came forward to assist in the efforts and the families and employers of offenders and ex-offenders. The journey ends with the Yellow Ribbon Project that now embodies the rehabilitative efforts for ex-offenders.
The Making of Captains of Lives is a personal account of a public sector leader who has helped built a highly efficient prison system in Singapore, providing a strong case study for successful change management and public sector leadership. It will encourage the hearts of all those civil servants who believe in serving their nations and societies by devoting themselves to a worthy cause in their day-to-day work.