In our society, we often don’t realize that there are groups of people who are ostracised, sidelined, and looked down upon. One of those groups is prisoners and ex-prisoners. YouTurn Project wants to make an impact and inspire people from all levels of society to change their views, perspectives and actions towards this group. “You” refers to everyone, having their lives “Turn”-ed into a more accepting, forgiving, and inspiring society.

YouTurn Project is inspired by Yellow Ribbon Project, a campaign that pushes for second chances for ex-offenders in Singapore. Malaysian CARE, involved in prison ministry since 1981, has never stopped helping, caring, guiding and advocating for offenders and ex-offenders since then. It is part of Malaysian CARE’s calling to reach out to the target population regardless of their religion and ethnicity. YouTurn Project is part of Malaysian CARE’s efforts and initiatives to build bridges between offenders and ex-offenders and society, removing all stigma and discrimination, and inspiring acceptance and reconciliation.

Core Values of YouTurn Project

 YouTurn Project promotes equal opportunity for ex-offenders in their daily lives.

 YouTurn Project recognizes that family reconciliation builds a strong foundation for ex-offenders.

 YouTurn Project inspires community acceptance to support the reintegration of ex-offenders.

Make a Difference

Opportunity in Life

Lily was out of prison after being sentenced for drug offenses. She was determined to start a new life and was getting help from an NGO to plan for her future. After months of preparation, Lily felt that she was ready and went to look for a job at the nearest hypermarket. After filling up the application form, she was told she would not be hired due to her being an ex-offender. There are many others who suffer just like Lily, who was unable to get a decent job due to her background, unable to get herself back on her feet and to get an equal opportunity in life.

Family Reconciliation

Ahmad was caught for a drug offense and was sentenced to a year’s imprisonment. Upon completing his sentence, he had nowhere to go. His only sister was working and couldn’t provide much help, but wanted to see his brother make it in life. After going through the reintegration program at Rumah Petros, Malaysian CARE’s halfway home, he slowly reconciled with his sister and even managed to learn some vocational skills to take away after the stay. Not many are like Ahmad, having the opportunity to reconcile with family, and not many had that kind of support after incarceration.

Community Acceptance

Discrimination and stigma are among the major factors that stop an ex-offender from reintegrating back into society. Having been rejected by his family and community, John had nowhere to go after he was released from prison. Because of that, he became homeless. After many tries and failures, John finally got over the prison lifestyle, but not without the help of his employer, family, and friends, who gave support and accepted him for who he is, and not what his background was. Acceptance, not discrimination, is one of the answers to fruitful reintegration.

YouTurn Stories & News!
YouTurn - Personal testimonies and related news that appeared in the local media.
Left Behind - A Story of Ahmad & Simon
Source: Care Contact Sept 2023  

Equal opportunity is one of the core values of YouTurn, an advocacy campaign to promote giving ex-prisoners a second chance. Being left behind is never a good experience. Remember when you lost your parents or family in a crowded place? Or when you were not selected for a group activity amongst your classmates? Or when you were not invited for a road trip with your friends? Being left behind can be traumatic. 

YouTurn Day 2023 - Community Acceptance
Source:  Care Contact June 2023 :

The experience of being incarcerated is not a pleasant one, especially in our beloved country, Malaysia. Not only does one have to endure the unpleasant life behind bars but also the below average standard of food, overcrowding, lack of personal hygiene materials due to a limited budget, and also missing their loved ones at home.

Imagine celebrating Christmas in Prison
Source:  Care Contact March 2023

Malaysian CARE and the Catholic Prison Fellowship Association jointly held a Christmas Celebration at Penjara Wanita Kajang for their inmates on 15th December 2022.

Dewan Rakyat passes a bill to abolish the mandatory death penalty.
Source:  Free Malaysia Today

The Dewan Rakyat has unanimously passed a bill to abolish the mandatory death penalty through a voice vote. The bill also gives judges the option to impose jail terms of up to 40 years in place of the mandatory death penalty. Ten MPs had taken part in the debate on the bill.

Prisoner release programme can ease overcrowding and help with reconciliation, say NGOs.
Source: The Star

The Ihsan Madani Prisoners' Release on Licence (OBB) programme by the Prisons Department has been lauded by NGOs as a timely move.

The Prisons Dept calls for halfway houses to accommodate paroled female convicts.
Source: The Malay Mail

The country is lacking halfway houses to accommodate paroled female prisoners and former female inmates who are looking for a job so that they can be reintegrated into society, Prison Department deputy director-general Datuk Ibrisam Abdul Rahman reportedly said.

The Prisons dept in dire need of transit houses for female ex-inmates.
Free Malaysia Today

The prisons department is in dire need of transit houses for female former inmates as all 15 transit houses nationwide only accommodate male residents.

More transit houses for women are needed. 
Source:  Sinar Daily

The Prison Department requires more transit houses specifically to house female ex-convicts as they reintegrate into society, it Deputy Commissioner General (community) Datuk Ibrisam Abdul Rahman said today.

Societal help for former convicts to rebuild their lives.
Source: The Star

The support of family, friends and a community can be a catalyst when it comes to reducing cases of recidivism and helping former offenders transition back to society, say experts and social activists.

Need for halfway houses for paroled female prisoners to be set up.
Source:  Selangor Journal

There is a need for halfway houses to be set up to accommodate paroled female prisoners and former female inmates who are looking for a job in order to help them reintegrate into society. 

Overcrowding and health in prisons  by Santha Oorjithan
Source:  The Health - March-April 2023

The push towards reducing overcrowding should not slow down during the endemic phase of Covid-19 

The YouTurn Project (Audio Podcast) .
Source:  BFM (48 mins audio recording)

Spearheaded by the NGO Malaysian Care, the YouTurn project aims to give chances and equal opportunities to prisoners and ex-prisoners, a group that's often marginalized. The project hopes to make an impact and inspire people from all levels of society to change their views, perspectives, and actions toward this group. We find out more about this group's mission and goals from Sam Lim, the Manager of the Community Development Department at Malaysian Care, and also Samuel* and Ashraf*, two former inmates who are now volunteers with the YouTurn Project. 

From Inmate to Graduate by Moses A Selvaraj  (Bachelor of Business Administration).
Source:  Catholic Prison Fellowship Association (CPFA)

The rougher it is, the tougher you will become! This was and would be my motto forever. Despite my plan of getting a proper education and becoming successful, my life turned into a nightmare when I was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for an offense, I had committed at the age of 17.  I was out on bail at the time so I could sit for my SPM and continue life as usual. 

Hafizi - All in the family
Source:  The Star

He was a top student. Upon completing secondary school, he was received by an institute of higher learning to embark on foundation in law. His parents, a fisherman and a food stall vendor from a small coastal village in Malaysia, were proud of and had high hopes for their bright son. With the good grades he consistently churned out, his future seemed sealed.