In order to win parole and secure an early release from prison, you will need to be issued with a Conditional Remission Order (CRO) that may be granted if you show good conduct and behaviour while serving your sentence.
The CRO is issued by the Prison Commissioner with a set of basic conditions that you will still need to follow through even after your release, mainly to discourage you from getting into trouble and more importantly, to help you reintegrate into society. Failure to do so will result in penalties.
The Basic Conditions of a CRO
As long as you are under the CRO, you are effectively released from prison. However, you will need to comply with the following basic conditions:
- You must not commit any offence during your release; and
- You must not be sentenced to prison, corrective training, reformative training or preventive detention for an offence.
Although the CRO applies to all prison inmates who were sentenced to prison, there are several scenarios where you will not be entitled to a CRO such as:
- A prison sentence of not more than 14 days
- A default sentence where you were sentenced in lieu of paying a fine.
- A prison sentence made up enhanced sentences. This happens if you had previously breached a CRO, or have committed a serious breach of a condition under a Mandatory Aftercare Order (MAO) which is an aftercare programme to assist in rehabilitation and reintegration into society. This order will also include counselling sessions, curfews, hair and/or urine tests.
- You committed a serious offence while serving your sentence. In this case, the President of Singapore may order the Commissioner of Prisons to either postpone or not grant you a CRO.
- You have been sentenced to corrective training or prevention detention. In these instances, you can be released “on licence” instead, where you have to comply with the conditions in the license issued upon your release and failure to do so will result in re-imprisonment.
- You have been sentenced to life imprisonment and have not reached the 20 year mark yet. If you have served at least 20 years of your life sentence, your case will be reviewed by the Minister of Home Affairs who will then decide to grant you a CRO. If you are not issued with a CRO at this point, your case will be reviewed at least once a year thereafter to gauge if you are eligible for one.
You will be informed if your CRP is forfeited for any reason.
When and How Is a CRO Made?
A CRO is usually issued the day after you have completed two-thirds of your prison sentence ORr after 14 days of your sentence, whichever ends later. If you have consecutive prison sentences, then the imprisonment term for each offence will take place immediately after each.
If your sentence was enhanced due to a previous CRO breach or you had committed a serious breach of your MAO, then your new CRO will only be issued after you have completed the total of the enhanced sentence and two-thirds of the consecutive prison sentence, or after 14 days of your sentence. Whichever ends later.
In order to qualify for a CRO, the time you have served in prison needs to be reckonable. Here are some instances where your prison time may not be considered reckonable:
- One-third of any time you were confined in a punishment cell.
- One-third of any time you were in hospital because of an action you committed, or malingering.
- Any period of remission that you had forfeited unless the Superintendent of Prisons restores your forfeited remission.
- Any period of deferment that was ordered by the President of Singapore because you had committed an offence while serving your sentence.
The CRO is issued with the approval of either the Commissioner for Prisons or the Minister of Home Affairs and will be given to you before you are released. Its contents will be explained to you clearly and you will be required to sign and confirm that you understand the terms of the CRO before your release. You can’t apply for one.
How Long Will The CRO Last?
The CRO’s validity period is the remaining period of your sentence that you would otherwise be serving in prison. For example, if you were sentenced to a year in prison and you get released on your 8th month, then your CRO will last for the remaining 4 months and will expire unless extended.
If you have been recalled to prison on a specific date but only show up at a much later date, your CRO will also be extended for that period until you return to prison.
Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu of Amarjit Sidhu Law Practice has represented numerous clients in a wide variety of matters over the years from traffic offences, family disputes to high-profile criminal cases. With a vast knowledge of Singapore’s laws and a wealth of experience, Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu will be able to provide valuable and timely advice for your situation. For more information, feel free to contact us for a consultation.