The Correctional Services Department (CSD) runs a comprehensive range of services for adult and young offenders, drug addicts and offenders with psychiatric problems. The services fall broadly under two areas: prison management and rehabilitation of offenders.
Currently, the CSD administers twenty-nine correctional facilities, including sixteen correctional institutions, three drug addiction treatment centres, one psychiatric centre, four rehabilitation centres, three halfway houses and two custodial wards in public hospitals. It also runs extensive through care services. At the end of 2012, with about 6 700 staff, we were looking after about 9 300 persons in custody and 2 200 persons under supervision after discharge.
Offenders sentenced to imprisonment are assigned to correctional institutions according to their gender, age and security rating. The last factor takes into account, among other things, the risk they pose to the community and whether they are first-time offenders. Separate correctional institutions are provided for males and females, and for adult and young offenders. Male and female young offenders aged between 14 and 20 may be admitted to a training centre or a rehabilitation centre. A detention centre programme is available for male offenders aged between 14 and 24. Drug addicts found guilty of an offence punishable by imprisonment may be sentenced to a drug addiction treatment centre. Offenders requiring psychiatric treatment will be accommodated in Siu Lam Psychiatric Centre.
Persons in custody are properly cared for in their daily living. The diet for persons in custody follows approved scales of nutritional values and with regard to health and religious requirements. All convicted adult persons in custody, unless certified physically unfit by a medical officer, are required by law to work six days a week. They are assigned to different work posts according to factors such as their fitness and security ratings, personal background and balance of sentence. They receive earnings as an incentive to acquire good working habits and vocational skills, which may be used for buying approved articles and canteen items. Television, newspapers and library books are available to persons in custody. They may send out and receive an unrestricted number of letters, receive regular visits and participate in the religious services available. Compulsory education and vocational training programmes are provided for persons in custody aged under 21 whereas voluntary programmes are provided for adults. Approved voluntary organisations may visit persons in custody who are not visited by their families.
Persons in custody released under the Pre-release Employment Scheme, offenders released under supervision from training centres, detention centre and drug addiction treatment centres, and those having special needs may be accommodated in halfway houses for varying lengths of time. Thereafter, they are permitted to live at home or in other places while they continue to receive after-care supervision.
The CSD manages ten correctional institutions for adult males, consisting of three maximum, three medium and four minimum security institutions. Adult female persons in custody are accommodated in two correctional institutions. For young offenders, the CSD operates two male correctional institutions (one maximum and one minimum security), one male training centre, two male rehabilitation centres and two female rehabilitation centres. A training centre section for young females is provided in Lai King Correctional Institution, a multi-function institution for females. There is also one detention centre for young males provided in Sha Tsui Correctional Institution, a multi-function institution for males. For drug addicts, there are drug addiction treatment centres, which provide treatment to adult male, young male and female drug addicts separately. Siu Lam Psychiatric Centre is a maximum security institution which separately houses male and female persons in custody of all categories (sentenced or on remand) who require psychiatric observation, treatment or assessment. Of all these correctional institutions, five cater for remanded males and females of different age groups. A correctional institution normally has dormitories, kitchen, dining rooms, laundry, workshops, exercise and recreational areas, library and hospital.
Three halfway houses operated by the CSD provide group counselling sessions and other activities for residents to assist their reintegration into society. Two custodial wards in public hospitals provide custodial services for persons in custody who are suffering from illness and referred by the Medical Officers of various penal institutions.
During the year of 2012, 11 479 adult offenders, comprising 7 919 men and 3 560 women, were sentenced to prison and 6 561 adults (5 038 men and 1 523 women) on remand were taken into custody. The number of young offenders sentenced to imprisonment totalled 372, comprising 281 males and 91 females, and 596 young people on remand (510 males and 86 females) were taken into custody. In addition, 372 young offenders (339 males and 33 females) were sentenced to detention in training centres, rehabilitation centres or the detention centre, and 1 231 offenders (969 males and 262 females) were placed in drug addiction treatment centres; while 2 414 offenders (2 080 males and 334 females) were remanded pending reports on their suitability for sentencing to one of these centres.
Certain categories of persons in custody have to undergo different periods of statutory supervision. They are persons in custody discharged from training centres, detention centre, rehabilitation centres and drug addiction treatment centres, discharged young persons in custody subject to supervision under the Criminal Procedure Ordinance, persons in custody discharged under the Release under Supervision Scheme, Pre-release Employment Scheme and Post-release Supervision Scheme, as well as persons in custody discharged under a conditional release order and a post-release supervision order. During the year of 2012, 2 093 offenders were discharged under supervision. They, together with those discharged in previous years and who had yet to complete their supervision period, amounted to 2 278 people under the CSD's supervision at the end of 2012. During the year, 1 117 supervisees were recalled for breach of supervision conditions.
Persons in custody aged under 21 are required to attend educational classes conducted by qualified teachers. Textbooks approved by the Education Bureau and supplementary materials compiled by the CSD are used as teaching materials for the educational classes. All persons in custody are encouraged to take part in both local and overseas public examinations organised by the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority as well as other local and overseas authorities. Young persons in custody may attend formal classes up to senior secondary level. They may be provided with the New Senior Secondary Education class to sit for the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination as school candidates in 2012 and onwards. Adult persons in custody may sit for the examination as private candidates. Persons in custody may obtain accreditation by way of public examinations held by the City and Guilds International or the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry International Qualifications.
The Prisoners' Education Trust Fund, set up with charitable donations in 1995, provides financial assistance to persons in custody in their educational pursuits, in the form of grants to cover course or examination fees, and expenses on reference books.
Industries and Vocational Training
Industries & Vocational Training (I&VT) Section provides both meaningful work and vocational training to adult persons in custody. In 2012, an average of 4 790 persons in custody were engaged at various types of productive work daily. Goods and services provided in 2012 amounted to $397.5 million. Vocational training helps them to learn useful skills and attain public recognised qualifications through various vocational training programmes and public examinations.
Programme and Welfare Services for Persons in Custody
Staff of Rehabilitation Unit look after the welfare of persons in custody, and help them to deal with personal problems and difficulties arising from detention or imprisonment. Apart from conducting individual and group counselling sessions, staff of Rehabilitation Unit assist in the establishment and running of hobby groups. They also organise activities such as Pre-release Re-integration Orientation courses and meetings with family members of persons in custody with the aim of helping persons in custody to reintegrate smoothly into society upon release and supplying them with information on community resources.
Drug Addiction Treatment
The CSD runs a compulsory treatment programme for convicted drug addicts which provides the courts with an alternative to imprisonment. Adult and young male drug addicts are accommodated at Hei Ling Chau Addiction Treatment Centre and Lai Sun Correctional Institution respectively. All females are accommodated at Nei Kwu Correctional Institution where adult and young drug addicts are located at separate sections therein. A drug addict undergoes in-centre treatment from 2 to 12 months, followed by one year's statutory after-care supervision. The programme is based on therapeutic treatment, discipline, work programmes, outdoor physical activities and comprehensive after-care service.
All institutions have their own hospitals providing basic medical treatment, health care to persons in custody. Those requiring dental services or specialist treatment are either referred to visiting specialists or to specialist clinics in public hospitals.
Ante-natal and post-natal care is provided in correctional institutions for female persons in custody, but babies are normally delivered in public hospitals. Siu Lam Psychiatric Centre treats persons in custody with mental health problems, and offers psychiatric consultations and assessments for persons in custody on referral from other institutions and the courts.
To guard against any infection within the institutions, the CSD adopts strict preventive measures. Screening procedures are strictly followed and all newly admitted persons in custody have their body temperature checked as well as being placed under observation for a certain period.
Each correctional facility is visited by Justices of the Peace fortnightly or monthly, depending on the type of correctional facilities. Justices of the Peace receive and investigate complaints from persons in custody, inspect diets and examine living and working conditions.