Hong Kong Correctional Services Department
Over the years Hong Kong has developed an internationally acclaimed correctional system, which places increasing emphasis on correction and rehabilitation of offenders. The Correctional Services Department (CSD) runs a comprehensive range of rehabilitation programmes targeting different types of persons in custody such as young offenders, drug dependants, first-time offenders and recidivists.
With an establishment of 6 807 staff, CSD manages 29 correctional facilities comprising correctional institutions, half-way houses and custodial wards of public hospitals. The correctional institutions include minimum, medium and maximum security prisons, a psychiatric centre and training, detention, rehabilitation and drug addiction treatment centres. Apart from 24 correctional institutions, there are three half-way houses and two custodial wards, which altogether accommodate about 9 100 persons in custody. CSD also runs an extensive community-based supervision service with some 2 400 persons under active supervision.
Adult Male Offenders: CSD operates 10 correctional institutions for male adults. Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre accommodates persons awaiting trial, appellants, and newly-convicted persons pending classification and allocation to other institutions.
Stanley Prison, the largest maximum-security prison, houses persons serving life or long-term sentences. Another maximum-security prison, Shek Pik Prison, houses those serving medium to long-term sentences including life imprisonment.
The four minimum-security prisons are Tung Tau Correctional Institution, Pik Uk Prison, Tai Lam Correctional Institution and Ma Hang Prison. Elderly persons in custody, generally aged over 60, are housed at Ma Hang Prison.
Young Male Offenders: Pik Uk Correctional Institution, a maximum-security institution, operates as a reception centre, training centre and prison for young persons in custody.
Cape Collinson Correctional Institution is a training centre for those aged between 14 and under 21. Those committed to training centres receive a period of training from six months to three years. Release is followed by a three-year compulsory supervision. Sha Tsui Correctional Institution is a minimum-security institution which consists of two separate sections to house detention centre (DC) detainees and young offenders sentenced to imprisonment. The DC section emphasises strict discipline, hard work and counselling. Detention varies from one to six months for offenders aged between 14 and under 21, and three to 12 months for those aged between 21 and under 25. There is a 12-month supervision following release. Young offenders imprisoned have to participate in a programme based on half-day education and half-day vocational training.
Lai Chi and Lai Hang Rehabilitation Centres house young male offenders for an aggregate period of three to nine months. The rehabilitation centre programme, focuses on reformation of young offenders, who are subject to one year’s supervision after release.
Adult Female Offenders: There are two correctional institutions for female adults. Tai Lam Centre for Women is a maximum-security institution functioning as a remand centre and a prison for adult women. Lo Wu Correctional Institution is the newest institution for adult female offenders, with one minimum-security wing and two medium-security wings.
Young Female Offenders: Lai King Correctional Institution, a minimum-security institution, operates as a reception centre, training centre and prison for young persons in custody aged between 14 and under 21. Chi Lan and Wai Lan Rehabilitation Centres accommodate young female offenders under the rehabilitation centre programme.
Drug Addiction Treatment: CSD runs a compulsory treatment programme for convicted drug addicts. It provides the courts with an alternative to imprisonment. Adult male drug abusers and young male drug abusers are accommodated at Hei Ling Chau Addiction Treatment Centre and Lai Sun Correctional Institution respectively while females are accommodated at Nei Kwu Correctional Institution with adult and young inmates separately accommodated. An inmate undergoes treatment for two to 12 months, followed by one year’s compulsory supervision after release. The programme is based on discipline and open-air physical activities including work programmes and therapy, and is supported by a comprehensive supervision service.
Siu Lam Psychiatric Centre provides psychiatric treatment for the criminally insane, dangerous and violent persons in custody. Persons sentenced under the Mental Health Ordinance and those requiring psychiatric assessment or treatment are accommodated in the Psychiatric Centre. Visiting psychiatrists of Hospital Authority also provide psychiatric assessments for the courts. Males and females are located at separate sections therein.
Industries and Vocational Training: CSD keeps convicted persons purposely and gainfully occupied for maintaining prison stability. In the pursuit of rehabilitation for offenders, the Industries and Vocational Training Section helps the offenders reintegrate into the society through acquisition of skills in industrial work and by providing vocational training to enhance their employability.
In 2011, a daily average of 5 099 prisoners were engaged in industrial work to provide a wide range of goods and services for the public sector in a cost effective manner. Examples are office furniture, staff uniforms and leather accoutrements, hospital linen, filter masks, fiberglass litter containers, traffic signs, slabs and kerbs for infrastructure projects. Prisoners also provide laundry services for the Hospital Authority, Department of Health and Fire Services Department. They laminate books for public libraries and local universities, undertake printing work and make file jackets and envelopes for government departments.
Provision of vocational training to offenders has been an important component of our rehabilitation regime. A series of diversified and market-oriented vocational training programmes with recognised accreditation are organised for both young and adult offenders to strengthen their capability.
For young inmates, CSD provides half-day compulsory technical, commercial and services training. Equal importance is placed on theoretical and practical aspects of the curriculum which prepares them to pursue further training after release.
For adult offenders, CSD provides pre-release vocational training courses on a full-time and part-time voluntary basis in various adult institutions. Adult offenders engaged in industrial production are trained to acquire necessary skills. Where appropriate, CSD helps them obtain skill accreditation by enrolling them in relevant Intermediate Trade Tests conducted by vocational training organisations, or applying through the Recognition of Prior Learning Scheme under the Hong Kong Qualifications Framework.
Supervision Service: To ensure continued care and guidance, statutory supervision is provided for young inmates; persons released from training, detention, rehabilitation and drug addiction treatment centres; and those released under various schemes such as the Release Under Supervision Scheme (RUSS), Prerelease Employment Scheme (PRES), Post-release Supervision of Prisoners Scheme (PRSS), Conditional Release Scheme (CRS) and Supervision After Release Scheme (SARS). Supervision staff works closely with inmates’ families to establish good relationship between inmates and their families and prepare inmates to face possible challenges and demands upon their return to the community. Continuous contact is maintained with every inmate in custody. Close supervision continues after discharge through frequent visits to supervisees’ home or place of work throughout the supervision period.
CSD runs three half-way houses - Phoenix House in Lung Yan Road for young inmates released from detention and training centres; Pelican House which is annexed to Phoenix House for prisoners released under the RUSS, PRES and CRS as well as adults from drug addiction treatment centres and prisoners released under the PRSS with accommodation needs; and Bauhinia House in Tai Lam Chung for female prisoners released under the RUSS, PRES and CRS and female inmates released from training and drug addiction treatment centres.
Success rates for the supervision service are measured by the percentage of inmates who complete the statutory supervision without reconviction. For drug addiction treatment centre inmates, they must also remain drug free. In 2011, the success rates were: detention centre (95%), training centres (63%), drug addiction treatment centres (42%), rehabilitation centres (97%), young prisoners (85%), RUSS (100%), PRES (100%), SARS (100%), and PRSS (87%). Altogether, 2 075 males and 388 females completed statutory supervision in 2011 whereas 1 968 males and 355 females were under active supervision as at end of 2011.
Welfare and Counselling Services: Rehabilitation Officers look after the welfare of prisoners and inmates who are in custody or on remand by providing assistance and guidance to help them solve their personal problems and cope with difficulties arising from detention. The officers also organise programmes such as Sentence Planning Scheme to encourage prisoners serving long-term sentences to spend their time purposefully and the Pre-release Re-integration Orientation Courses to prepare prisoners for release.
To further improve rehabilitative services for offenders through community involvement, CSD officers work closely with over 80 non-government organisations (NGOs) to coordinate a variety of activities ranging from counselling services and religious sacraments to large-scale cultural ventures and recreational projects in correctional institutions.
Psychological Services: Psychological services are provided for inmates/prisoners to improve their psychological well-being and help change their offending behaviour. Psychological assessments are provided for the courts, review boards and institution management to facilitate their decision making and management of offenders. To assist in programme planning and improve treatment effectiveness, an automated programme for identifying the re-offending risks and rehabilitative needs of offenders have been developed. Therapeutic programmes for offenders include Offending Behaviour Programme for young offenders which targets criminogenic factors related to offending and Drug Abuse Rehabilitation Programme for drug abusers. Sex offenders are scheduled to receive systematic treatment programmes in the Sex Offenders Evaluation and Treatment Unit (ETU) to change their offending behaviour. For adult offenders, Violence Prevention Programme services targeting at changing the violent behaviour of the participants are also in place at selected adult institutions. Gender-specific and systematic psychological treatment programmes are provided to female offenders in the newly-developed PSY GYM – Personal Growth and Emotion Treatment Centre for Women to help them to develop a constructive lifestyle. To encourage family members’ participation in the rehabilitation of young offenders, a variety of Inmate-Parent Programmes are also introduced.
Psychological services also takes care of staff’s psychological health and stress coping. A healthy and balanced lifestyle has been actively promoted by Staff Psychological Services since early 2010.
Education: Half-day compulsory education in general and practical subjects is provided for young inmates. The programmes enable inmates to improve their academic standards which help their future re-integration. They are encouraged to study for local and international public examinations. Tutorial groups and hobby classes conducted by volunteer tutors are run in adult institutions, where prisoners can enrol voluntarily. Prisoners are also encouraged to participate in self-study courses or distant learning for tertiary education by making use of the resources and expertise of external accredited educational organisations.
Community Engagement: CSD reaches out to the community to seek public’s engagement for offender rehabilitation. Among other partners, the Committee on Community Support for Rehabilitated Offenders, composed of leaders and professionals from different walks of life, advises on rehabilitation strategies notably publicity programmes.
CSD Rehabilitation Volunteer Group (CSDRVG) organises activities to supplement services in meeting the needs of inmates. With more than 210 active volunteers, the Group conducted language courses, computer studies, cultural pursuits, etc., for offenders in various correctional institutions during the year.
Publicity activities have been ongoing since 1999, constituting a bridge between offenders and society. Through such activities as TV and Radio Announcements in the Public Interest, TV variety shows, TV documentary-drama series entitled “Knowing More About Hong Kong Correctional Services”, “The Road Back I-V”, Symposium on Employment for Rehabilitated Persons, NGO Service Day, joint community involvement activities with various District Fight Crime Committees, appointment of Rehabilitation Ambassador, and Award Presentation Ceremony for Volunteers of CSDRVG held over the years, the need for collaborative efforts to help offenders rehabilitate and the important role members of the community play to that end gained greater exposure.
Rehabilitation Pioneer Project: The Rehabilitation Pioneer Project covers a series of educational talks, visits and forums for youth. The talks provide basic information on Hong Kong’s criminal justice system and CSD’s custodial and rehabilitative services. The Personal Encounter with Prisoners Scheme complements other crime fighting tools, as young students visit correctional institutions and meet with inmates to share experiences and cautionary lessons. The Green Haven Scheme promotes anti-drug messages and the importance of environmental protection among young people. Participants meet with young inmates at addiction treatment centres on Hei Ling Chau, gaining insight into the detrimental effects of drug abuse. Visits to Hong Kong Correctional Services Museum foster participants’ understanding of the development of correctional services, particularly the importance of public support for offender rehabilitation. The Options in Life Student Forum is another crime prevention programme under which rehabilitated offenders are arranged to address students and elaborate on the consequences of crime.
Religious Services: A full-time Chaplain co-ordinates the planning and provision of religious services. He is assisted by a number of volunteer chaplains who visit and conduct services for prisoners and inmates. Many volunteers and non-government organisations also provide a wide range of spiritual and social services in institutions.
Medical Services in Institutions: Primary medical services are provided in all institutions. All persons on admission undergo a physical examination by a medical officer. Those suffering from drug withdrawal symptoms are detoxified in an institutional hospital. Persons requiring intensive medical care or specialist consultation are referred to public hospitals for treatment.
Visiting Justices: Each institution is visited by two Justices of the Peace once every fortnight or monthly depending on its type. The Justices of the Peace carry out certain statutory duties such as investigating complaints made to them by persons in custody, inspecting diets and examining buildings and accommodation. Visits are made at times and on days of their own choosing within a prescribed period without prior notice.
Staff Training: The Staff Training Institute is responsible for planning and implementing training programmes to equip staff with relevant knowledge to fulfill the Vision, Mission and Values of the Department.
Newly-recruited Officers and Assistant Officers have to undergo 26-week and 23-week basic training respectively including field placement at correctional institutions. Development training courses such as refresher courses, specialist training courses and command courses are regularly conducted at the institute to foster staff’s personal effectiveness and help their career development. Scenario training and situational analysis are emphasised in staff training.
To promote self-enhancement and life-long learning culture, CSD provides a wide variety of self-learning resources. A Knowledge Management System (KMS) has been established to strengthen e-learning since 2010.
Caring for all: Apart from performing their daily duties, staff of the CSD is encouraged to participate in various benevolent activities to extend their spirit of care to the community. These activities include the deployment of volunteers, organisation of fund-raising and advising non-government organisations that provide services to rehabilitated offenders.
In recognition of the department's continuing and total commitment in caring for the well-being of staff and their families, as well as the community as a whole, CSD was awarded the “5 Years Plus Caring Organisation Logo” in the year 2010/11 by the Hong Kong Council of Social Service and was presented with the "Total Caring Award" in the year 2007/08.