@MSFCares and @NCSSSingapore recently released a report on a 'landmark study' which found that children of convicted offenders are more likely to get into trouble with the law. The report is riddled with problematic assumptions, which @tjc_singapore points out
1/The report suggests that the public should see certain communities as intrinsically criminal, and as deviant actors to be fixed, rather than as vulnerable groups impacted adversely by incarceration, who are deserving of care and protection.
2/People affected by incarceration are regular people, often marginalised by class and ethnicity. This is evident if we look at the demographics of the prison population in Singapore.
3/The report also frames its findings in sexist ways – by suggesting that women who are incarcerated are to blame even more than men for their children’s “criminality”, because they are primary caregivers;
4/and offering regressive explanations for the findings, such as “daughters may be more sensitive and affected by the parents’ criminal behaviour than sons”. These explanations are feeble and fall back on gender stereotypes to make sense of the data
5/rather than attempting to understand, within the lived experiences of these children, the reasons for their conflicts with the law. The study acknowledges the intergenerational harm and knock-on effects on children of people convicted of drug-related offences.
6/It is therefore paradoxical that it is calling for even greater criminalisation of drug users. Keeping more people, including parents, out of prison should be the goal, as the study shows how horribly disruptive to life and caregiving incarceration is.
7/It is not “criminality” that is “transmitted” but criminalisation and marginalisation that is intergenerational. Singapore should re-examine its policy around a “tough stance on drugs” and instead work towards decriminalising non-violent drug offences.