Here’s how the inside of a Singapore prison complex looks like

Japanese YouTuber Ghib Ojisan tours Singapore prison and learns more about inmates’ living environment.

Charlotte Chang

You’ll never meet anyone who loves thriller movies more than her.

Published: 21 September 2021, 4:39 PM

Ever wondered what the inside of a Singapore prison complex looks like?

Contrary to the dull grey buildings largely portrayed in movies, the Singapore Prison Service’s (SPS)Selarang Park Complex largely resembles any other HDB estate, the only difference being the living conditions of its residents.

Singapore-based Japanese YouTuber Ghib Ojisan had the opportunity to pay the prison a visit and uploaded a video about his experience.

At the SPS Headquarters in Selarang, Ghib had a chance to speak to 31-year-old Jeremy, an ex-inmate currently under the Residential Scheme. As part of his preparation to re-enter society, Jeremy is working in the F&B industry. 

He is allowed to head out for work and returns to the complex after work. He can also head out for a set duration on his off days.

Ghib also meets with Rehabilitation Officer Kevin, a Housing Unit Officer at Institution S1 in Selarang Park Complex, where they house inmates for rehabilitation.


The televisit room allows visitors to speak to inmates virtually in the event where they are unable to talk face-to-face. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTUBE/GHIB OJISAN


At the Selarang Park Complex, there is a televisit room which allows inmates to communicate with their loved ones via teleconferencing – much like a Zoom call. This comes in handy, especially when they are not able to make it down to the complex physically.


The cells are designed to minimise the movement and maximise the safety of its residents. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTUBE/GHIB OJISAN


Each cell is built with the bare minimum requirements for its residents. Up to eight inmates share a cell, which comes with an open toilet, and are assigned a small personal space.

A box is issued to them to place their own belongings, including the mat which they sleep on. The rooms are just large enough to accommodate its residents without giving them too much space for physical activity. They are, however, provided with a small table each for their own personal use – such as reading the newspapers. 

With no door between the toilet and their rest area, inmates are stripped of their privacy during their time there, a mental barrier that Jeremy said he had to overcome when he first arrived. 

Jeremy also admitted to needing some time to adjust from the comfort of his mattress at home to the hardness of the concrete floor.


Inmates usually eat in the Dining Hall, also known as the Indoor Yard, where their daily meals are planned according to a dietician. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTUBE/GHIB OJISAN


During mealtimes, inmates mingle and communicate with each other in the Indoor Yard as part of their recreational activities. They are also provided with pre-recorded shows to watch.


The Outdoor Yard also consists of an inspirational quote for inmates to feel inspired every day. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTUBE/GHIB OJISAN


In the outdoor yard, inmates play ball games such as basketball or sepak takraw as a form of exercise and recreation.  There are also board games such as chess for inmates to play among themselves. According to Kevin, it is this time of the day that the inmates look forward to the most.


Staff are stationed in the control centre to maintain peace and order within the housing unit. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTUBE/GHIB OJISAN


Apart from the cell, Ghib was also brought into the housing unit’s control centre. There, video analytics are also deployed to help officers at the complex to observe any abnormal behaviours, such as fights, occurring between the inmates. 

This allows the officers to respond faster and, in turn, increase their operational capability. 

At the tail-end of their sentence, under the Work-Release Scheme, inmates are then moved to Institution S2, where they share rooms with more inmates and have bunk beds and mattresses to sleep on.


Similar to most dormitories, inmates are provided with bunk beds and a locker to store their belongings. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTUBE/GHIB OJISAN


Although inmates still share a communal toilet in the room, there are now taller dividers separating the toilet from the rest of the room, giving the inmates more privacy as compared to before.


Most of SPS’s rehabilitation and counselling sessions take place in the multi-purpose room. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTUBE/GHIB OJISAN


As part of their rehabilitation process, inmates are provided with a variety of programmes to encourage change within themselves. Towards the end of their sentence, they will be allowed to spend some time out of prison to help them get used to society again.

However, it is during this time they may potentially face unkind remarks from some members of the public. 

You can find out more about the insides of Selarang Park Complex in Ghib’s video below.

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