While CSD is committed to providing the best possible opportunity for all offenders to make a new start in life upon their release, the successful re-integration of rehabilitated offenders into society would depend largely on how ready the public accepts and supports them. In this connection, the Department has been actively promoting community acceptance of and support for rehabilitated offenders through education, publicity and public involvement. We set up the Committee on Community Support for Rehabilitated Offenders in late 1999 to advise us on this important area of work.
Specifically, we have organized publicity and public education activities to help the community better understand the needs and problems of rehabilitated offenders and to appeal for their support. These activities include community involvement projects jointly held with various District Fight Crime Committees, symposiums on employment of rehabilitated offenders, special TV and radio programmes, TV and Radio Announcements in the Public Interest, exhibitions, appointment of local celebrities and public figures as Rehabilitation Ambassadors and productions promoting the talents of inmates etc.
The Department welcomes and facilitates public involvement in the rehabilitation of offenders. Some established channels are as follows -
Adult offenders may participate in educational studies and hobby developments arranged for them after work on voluntary basis. Such tutorial classes and interest groups are now largely run by volunteers from the CSD Rehabilitation Volunteer Group which was established in January 2004. The Volunteer Group provides a good opportunity for members of the public to be involved directly in the rehabilitation of offenders. Those interested to join this Volunteer Group may approach the office of CSD Rehabilitation Volunteer Group (Telephone No.:2505 1492) for more details.
The Department advocates equal employment opportunities for rehabilitated offenders and has been referring supervisees to employers wishing to employ rehabilitated offenders. Interested employers are welcome to call the Rehabilitation Hotline (Telephone No. 2582 5555). Where appropriate, CSD will also facilitate projects initiated by non-government organizations to employ rehabilitated offenders.
PWF is a charitable fund set up under Section 21A of the Prisons Ordinance (Cap.234) for the benefit of inmates/prisoners and rehabilitated offenders. PETF, on the other hand, is set up under the Prisoners' Education Trust Fund Ordinance (Cap. 467) for the purposes of providing financial assistance to individual prisoners in their efforts to obtain education and providing educational facilities for prisoners. By making donations to these funds, organizations or members of the public will also make valuable contribution to the successful re-integration of rehabilitated offenders.
At present, there are over 80 religious bodies and non-government social services agencies working with us to help prisoners re-integrate into the community. These organizations, through the employment of social workers, peer counsellors and volunteers, render counselling, employment and accommodation assistance, and recreational and religious services for persons under our custody and rehabilitated offenders. On top of this, the Department has implemented since February 2004 the Continuing Care Project, which engages seven non-government social service organizations to follow up supervisees who, after completing the statutory supervision, are still found to be in need of and are willing to receive counselling services.