Corrective Work Order
, commonly known as CWO
, is one of the two penalties
(the other is a fine
) in Singapore to be meted out to 'litterbugs' (those who are caught littering in the public street). The order forces the 'litterbugs' to clean up a specified location as ordered by the government. The punishment aims to force the offender to rehabilitate and shame them in public to deter others from committing the similar offence.
In the early days, Corrective Work Order was intended for repeat offenders only. Introduced in 1992
, it proved to be very successful at the beginning. Littering offenses have significantly dropped, and there were very few repeat offenders. Occasionally, a few who served Corrective Work Order had their faces photographed by The Straits Times
and published on the front cover. These people usually end up as a "national joke" and have sometimes been shunned
. Litterbugs serving Corrective Work Order usually have their faces covered with a mask or plastic bag (which is legal) to avoid being identified by members of the public. In the recent years, it was extended to first time offenders who littered "large objects."
However, questions were later raised on the effectiveness and ethics of Corrective Work Order. Reports suggest that there were teenagers who deliberately littered in order to serve on Corrective Work Order so that they can satisfy membership requirements of secret triads
. This clearly contradicts the original intention of the measure. It is also questionable whether the government's use of public shaming as a form of punishment is counterproductive.