Yellow Ribbon Project

Every year, more than 9,000 ex-offenders complete their imprisonment and are released from the various prisons and drug rehabilitation centres (DRCs). It is disheartening that ex-offenders have to live with the stigma of having served time behind bars when they are released from prison, one that can often be more punishing than the prison sentence itself. Many ex-offenders, once released, find themselves literally stepping into a second prison. This time it would be a prison with invisible bars, of suspicion, mistrust and discrimination.

The best rehabilitation regime during incarceration is of no use if ex-offenders find themselves rejected at every turn when they are released into the larger community. Through the Yellow Ribbon Project, we hope to promote a more accepting society, one that is willing to give ex-offenders a second chance at making good. It is important that we help unlock the second prison for our inmates, even as we let them out of the physical one.

3 ‘A’s: Goals of the Yellow Ribbon Project

The Yellow Ribbon Project has three goals:

  • To create Awareness of giving second chances to ex-offenders,
  • To generate Acceptance of ex-offenders and their families into the community,
  • To inspire Community Action to support the rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-offenders.

Keys To Unlocking the Second ‘Prison’

A verse in the song reads:

“I’m really still in prison and my love, she holds the key, a simple yellow ribbon’s what I need to set me free…”
Lyrics by Irwin Levine and L Russell Brown (1973)

The Yellow Ribbon Project’s moniker is adapted from the 1973 Tony Orlando and Dawn hit song “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree”, which aptly describes a released prisoner’s desire for forgiveness and acceptance.

Yellow Ribbon Fund

The Yellow Ribbon Fund (YRF) is a registered charity and an Institute of Public Character (IPC) under the National Council of Social Service (NCSS). Established in 2004, YRF is devoted to the development and implementation of rehabilitation and reintegration programmes for ex-offenders and support services for families of the incarcerated. It aims to help ex-offenders reintegrate successfully into the society, reconcile with their families and find hope in a new beginning.