Five hardened criminals, One unique prison, in a ground-breaking observational documentary series, that will show you for the first time what prison is really like.
Singapore’s Changi Prison is a concrete purgatory, spartan to the extreme. There are no beds, no pillows and no chairs in the cells. A shower is done stooping above a toilet hole. Humiliating strip searches are routine, as a matter of security. Yet, practiced in this prison are some of the most sophisticated methods to reform the hearts and minds of the most recalcitrant prisoners. So much so that Singapore’s reoffending rates are among the lowest globally. Yet even at those low rates, at least 1-in-5 inmates are back in jail within 2 years after their release.
For the first time ever, six inmates, incarcerated multiple times and at least once at maximum security, agree to reveal their full identities, for our cameras to capture their lives behind bars, as they unfold. Will the regime in jail finally be enough for them to renounce a life of crime? Will this be their final stint in Changi Prison?
Episode 1 – Life in Lockdown
How hard is life in prison? We explore prison regime through the eyes of officers and inmates in Changi’s Maximum-security prison. How does an inmate live in a single-man cell?
In this first episode, we enter a world behind bars to meet the inmates. We follow Graceson, a gangster who manages to get himself a new tattoo in prison and is duly caned for it; Khai, a professional skateboarder who is just coming to terms with the loss of his career; Rusdi who is counting down to his release in 50 days using packets of snacks; And Boon Keng gets into trouble for keeping origami in his cell during a cell search.
Episode 2 – Keeping Bonds Beyond Bars
An inmate sentenced to maximum security prison has nothing more to lose. Or so some would think. But losing one’s freedom is nothing compared to losing one’s family.
We follow the residents of maximum security as they try to hang on to their relationships while in lockdown. Boon Keng attempts to reconnect with a daughter that he has not seen in years. Graceson’s tough persona unravels when his wife stops coming to visit him. Iskandar comes to terms with saying goodbye to his family as a death sentence looms over his drug trafficking charge. And family problems drive Khai to spiral, leading him to consider suicide.
Episode 3 – Breaking Bad Habits
Life in maximum security is predictable. It’s rules, routines and rigor. No questions asked. No choices given.
But what happens when inmates step out into a world where they’re free to make decisions?
Desperate to break his cycle of reoffending, Boon Keng takes matters into his own hands and seeks to confront his greatest obstacle. After being given a new lease of life, Iskandar grasps an opportunity he neglected in his childhood. Rusdi’s loved ones try to dissuade him from returning to a career that sent him on a downward spiral. Under the supervision of psychologists, Khai revisits his dark past.
Episode 4 – Road To Freedom
In the finale, our inmates try to ready themselves for their eventual return to the real world beyond the gates of Changi Prison.
Graceson seeks help from a psychologist to prepare him for a call with his daughter, whom he has not spoken to for a year. Khai takes another step in managing his emotions, by counselling other inmates in managing theirs. Boon Keng is granted an interview for a programme that would see him serving the last third of his sentence in the community, but will he be able to convince his interviewers that he will not return to drugs? After 20 years, Iskandar is taking his ‘O’ levels again, how will he fare this time? Rusdi’s will be released in a matter of days; will he be able to stay out of trouble, and get released as scheduled?