Singapore seeks indefinite jail for 'high-risk' offenders

SINGAPORE: Singapore is seeking to jail "high-risk" sex offenders and violent criminals indefinitely under legislation proposed Wednesday.

The "Sentence for Enhanced Public Protection" provision of a bill filed in parliament aims to keep convicts showing signs that they might re-offend behind bars, even after their jail terms have ended.

"The Government has been looking at ways to better protect the public from such dangerous offenders, who pose a substantial risk of serious physical and/or sexual harm to others, especially to those in our society who are vulnerable," the law and home affairs ministries said in a joint statement.

"We want to ensure that such dangerous and high-risk offenders are not released back into the community until they no longer pose a threat to public safety."

The legislation will apply to offenders convicted of serious violent or sexual offences, such as culpable homicide and rape.

It recommends a minimum jail term of five to 20 years, which will be determined by the court.

High-risk offenders should only be released if the home affairs minister assesses they no longer pose a threat to the public.

"Our current sentencing options are inadequate to deal with such egregious offending," the ministries said.

"For offences that do not attract life imprisonment, the available sentencing options all presently require an offender to be released automatically after a certain point, regardless of the threat they pose to others."

Lawmakers will debate the proposed harsher measures but no date has been set. -- AFP

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