|Social Visit Arrangements|
Frequency of Visit & Number of Visitors allowed for a Visit
Remand persons in custody can be visited by relatives and friends once daily. Each visit shall not exceed 15 minutes and no more than two visitors, including infants and children, shall be allowed at one time.
Convicted persons in custody can be visited by relatives and friends twice a month. Each visit shall not exceed 30 minutes and no more than three visitors, including infants and children, shall be allowed at one time.
On admission, all persons in custody are required to declare the name and relationship of their visitors. During their custody, they may add new visitors to or delete existing visitors from the list subject to approval by the institutional management.
Visiting Hours & Location of Institutions
All institutions have specified visiting hours, mostly from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.. Visitors must be registered 30 minutes prior to the end of the visiting hours. Some institutions, such as reception centres and half-way houses, adopt a different arrangement to suit local needs. Please refer to the web pages of Individual Institutions for details of the arrangement. The web pages also contain information about the respective addresses of and public transport to access the institutions.
Provision of Personal Information in a Visit
Visitors who visit a person in custody for the first time are required to produce identification for verification and fill in a registration slip with their name, Hong Kong Identity Card number (or valid travel document number), address and relationship with the person in custody to whom they intend to visit. For subsequent visits to the same person in custody, re-registration of address is not required unless the aforesaid information needs amendment.
For further information about our policies in handling personal data, please refer to the web page under Privacy Statement
Hand-in Articles in a Visit
Persons in custody are allowed to receive some articles from their visitors upon visit. The lists of Approved Hand-in Articles for remand and convicted persons in custody are different. Please refer to the lists of Approved Hand-in Articles for details. For certain items, for example, dental floss, the concerned person in custody must first obtain prior approval from the institutional management on each occasion.
If visitors wish to hand in any approved articles on the list, they have to hand those articles to the staff in the registration office for checking and registration. As a security measure, all similar hand-in items will be pooled together and mixed before random distribution to the concerned persons.
Basically, the CSD provides all persons in custody with daily necessities adequate for maintaining a decent and healthy living for their custody and rehabilitation. Except those inmates detained under the Detention Centres Ordinance or Rehabilitation Centres Ordinance, they can use their earnings from work to buy some other consumable items (such as health care products, stationery, snack and drink, etc) through canteen purchase arrangements every month. This arrangement aims to provide work incentive and motivation for persons in custody.
Restrictions on Visits to Persons in Custody
For the purpose of ensuring good order and discipline and prevention of crime in correctional facilities, visit ban may be imposed to visitors of persons in custody who have committed misconduct or suspected to have committed offences of criminal nature in correctional facilities for one or two weeks.
Persons in custody may apply to the management of the respective institution for video visit in advance if they wish to be visited by their relatives and friends who have difficulties in physically coming to institutions for visit due to age, pregnancy, disabilities or other special reasons. Eligible persons in custody can receive video visit no more than once a month with no more than three visitors at one time. Each visit will last not more than 20 minutes. Upon approval, the visitors will be informed to conduct the video visit at Mongkok Counselling Centre located at M/F., Mongkok Government Offices, No. 30 Luen Wan Street, Mongkok, Kowloon.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: Can visitors enquire the imprisonment information of a person in custody? TOP
Any personal data are required to be securely kept under Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (Cap 486). For such purpose, we can only answer the phone enquiry on the whereabouts of a person in custody provided that the enquiring person is the declared visitor and prior consent is obtained from the concerned person in custody. Enquiry involving other sentence particulars of a person in custody will normally not be entertained. Please refer to the web pages of Individual Institutions for the enquiry phone numbers. In fact, we have prevailing measures to assist persons in custody to inform relatives and friends of their admission/transfer/discharge according to their wishes.
Q2: Can visitors bring along their personal belongings in a visit?TOP
Visitors are not allowed to bring along their personal belongings in a visit. They should deposit their personal belongings in the designated storage facilities before visiting. For security measures, visitors are required to pass through a metal detector doorway and/or to be scanned by handheld metal detectors. Sniffing dogs will also patrol at all the visiting places. Visitors should take note that under section 18 of Prisons Ordinance, any person introduces any article into prison without permission shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of $2,000 and to imprisonment for three years. Likewise, persons in custody will violate rules 23 and 61 of Prison Rules if they are in possession of any article without authority.
Q3: Can visitors hand in medications to a person in custody?TOP
Every prison is staffed with Medical Officer from the Department of Health who, by law, shall have the medical charge and shall be responsible for the medical treatment of all the persons in custody thereat. Request of handing-in of medications by approved visitors may be considered by the Medical Officer provided that the medications are properly prescribed by registered medical practitioner and in original packaging with legible marking and labeling.
Q4: Only items of the prescribed brands and specifications are allowed to be handed in to persons in custody. Why?TOP
Due to security considerations, all similar hand-in items will be pooled together and mixed before random distribution to the concerned persons. To make the pooling work, we need to unify the brand and specification of every item allowed to be handed in on the basis of the security risks posed as well as its popularity and sustained availability in the market.
Q5: Can visitors smoke during a visit?TOP
No. Smoking is prohibited in visit room. Pursuant to the Smoking (Public Health) Ordinance (Cap 371), any person contravening the law will be liable to a fixed penalty of $5,000.
Q6: Do persons in custody get sufficient daily necessities in the prison?TOP
Yes. All persons in custody are provided with daily necessities adequate for maintaining a decent and healthy environment for their custody and rehabilitation. Persons in custody are provided with balanced diets which are designed by dietitian with reference to prevailing international and local health guidelines. Adequate clothing and bedding suitable for the climate are provided for maintenance of good health. Besides, basic toiletries including tooth paste, tooth brush, toilet paper, etc are also provided for maintenance of personal hygiene and cleanliness.
Q7: Do persons in custody get any treatment in the prison if they have medical or emotional problems?TOP
Yes. In every prison, there is healthcare facility staffed with Medical Officers from the Department of Health and also qualified nursing staff who will take care of the medical and health needs of persons in custody. If they feel sick, they will be attended to by the Medical Officer/nursing staff and receive medical treatment as required. Psychological services are also available for them if they have emotional problems, adjustment difficulties or any psychological issues.
Q8: What if a person in custody encounters institutional adjustment or personal / family problems?TOP
All persons in custody may approach any on-duty staff or senior officers of their respective institutions for assistance should they encounter any problems during incarceration. Officers of institutional Rehabilitation Unit will provide counseling and tangible assistance to help them resolve institutional adjustment and personal / family problems. If necessary, they will be referred to the relevant specialist for follow-up.
Q9: Are there any charges for the visit arrangements?TOP
No fee will be charged against persons in custody or their relatives and friends for the visit arrangements. In fact, other arrangements provided by CSD including provision of food, accommodation, and clothing, etc. are also free of charge. If any person solicits money, gifts or favours from you for any arrangements provided by CSD, please report the case to any senior officer of the institution or the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) without delay.
Q10: Are there any channels of complaint?TOP
Yes. If you have any complaint, you can make it to any on-duty staff or request to meet the senior officer of the institution. Also, you may make the complaint direct to our Complaints Investigation Unit.
Q11: I am a physically disabled person. What if I prefer to visiting my friend / relative in person rather than through video conferencing?TOP
Some of the correctional institutions were not purpose built. To align with the Government's established policy of providing a barrier-free environment for persons with disabilities, barrier-free designs are adopted for all of our new correctional facilities or existing correctional facilities under renovation. If you foresee difficulties of accessibility to our visitation facilities, please contact the management of the Individual Institutions concerned for advice and assistance that could be offered. For information about barrier-free facilities provided by individual correctional institutions, please contact the Access Officer of the respective institution direct.
Q12: Can I have additional visits to persons in custody?TOP
In the interest of a convicted person in custody’s rehabilitation and relationship with his family, all convicted persons in custody may request to receive two additional visits per month with his family on top of those provided under the law.
Q13: How many magazines, periodicals or books can persons in custody receive?TOP
A person in custody may receive no more than six magazines, periodicals and other general reading materials per month. Devotional books are not subject to any limit while textbooks are allowed on any approved quantity.
Q14: Can I bring any food item to a person in custody?TOP
All persons in custody are provided with simple and wholesome food. All the dietary scales are designed by accredited dietitians with the nutritional content agreed by the Department of Health and in compliance with international health guidelines. Having regard to the health, dietary and religious needs of persons in custody, the Department currently provides four main dietary scales, namely dietary scale 1 with rice as staple food; dietary scale 2 with curry and chapatti as staple food; dietary scale 3 with potatoes and bread as staple food; and dietary scale 4 comprising vegan meal. Moreover, persons in custody may be provided with other supplementary diets derived from the four major dietary scales to meet their specific needs.
For remand persons in custody, they may also procure for themselves or receive food. For private food arrangement, enquiry can be made to the institutional Rehabilitation Unit staff. They may also receive snack type food from their visitors upon visit. Please refer to the lists of Approved Hand-in Articles for more information.
Q15: Apart from visiting a person in custody, can I write to him or her as often as I like and vice versa?TOP
Yes. Persons in custody may receive or write any number of letters. Convicted persons in custody can send one free letter per week with envelope, papers and postage at public expense. If they want to send more often, they can use their earnings from the work to purchase stamps. For remand persons in custody, they will be furnished with reasonable amount of paper and other writing materials to write letters. If necessary, all persons in custody may also apply to hand in appropriate amount of stamps from visitors. Please refer to the lists of Approved Hand-in Articles for more information.