Over the years Hong Kong has developed an internationally acclaimed correctional system, which places increasing emphasis on correction, rehabilitation of persons in custody, as well as community education. 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 7 013 posts as at 31 December 2019, CSD manages 28 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 23 correctional institutions, there are three half-way houses and two custodial wards, which altogether accommodate about 7 000 persons. CSD also provides statutory supervision with around 1 400 persons under active supervision at the end of 2018.
For the health of persons in custody, CSD actively supports the Government’s anti-smoking policy and promotes a no smoking culture among persons in custody through various anti-smoking measures including education, propaganda, counseling and smoking cessation courses. In addition to assigning Tung Tau Correctional Institution as the first “No Smoking Correctional Facility” on 1 January 2013, CSD assigned Pak Sha Wan Correctional Institution as the second “No Smoking Correctional Facility” on 1 December 2014 to accommodate adult persons in custody who do not smoke. Besides, the Department has set up “no-smoking zones” in other institutions including Stanley Prison and Lo Wu Correctional Institution. To encourage and facilitate persons in custody to quit smoking, the Department, in 2018 and for the first time, cooperated with the Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health for arranging persons in custody to participate in the “Quit to Win” Smoke-free Community Campaign organised by the Council, University of Hong Kong School of Public Health and School of Nursing.
For conservation of resources and minimise pollution, CSD emphasises environmental protection and reducing of food waste in penal institutions. In 2013 and 2014, CSD has implemented the “Waste No Food Scheme” in Lo Wu Correctional Institution and later in Tai Lam Centre for Women, Nei Kwu Correctional Institution and the Elderly Unit of Tai Lam Correctional Institution to promote the culture of reducing waste and cherishing food for the support of environmental protection. Apart from reducing leftovers and food waste, Lo Wu Correctional Institution, Stanley Prison and Tai Lam Centre for Women have also installed food waste decomposing systems to convert food waste into useful organic fertilizers in 2013, 2015 and 2017 respectively.
Adult Male Persons in Custody: CSD operates 9 correctional institutions for male adults. Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre accommodates persons awaiting trial 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.
Tong Fuk Correctional Institution, Hei Ling Chau Correctional Institution and Pak Sha Wan Correctional Institution are medium-security prisons. The three minimum-security prisons are Tung Tau Correctional Institution, Pik Uk Prison and Tai Lam Correctional Institution. Elderly persons in custody of low security risk, generally aged over 65, are housed at Tai Lam Correctional Institution.
Young Male Persons in Custody: Pik Uk Correctional Institution, a maximum-security institution, houses remand and convicted 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. The above young persons in custody have to participate in a programme based on half-day education and half-day vocational training.
Sha Tsui Correctional Institution, a minimum-security institution for detention centre detainees, 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.
Lai Chi and Lai Hang Rehabilitation Centres house young male persons in custody 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 Persons in Custody: 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 female adults, with one minimum-security wing and two medium- security wings.
Young Female Persons in Custody: Lai King Correctional Institution, a minimum-security institution, operates as a reception centre, training centre, drug addiction treatment centre and prison for young female persons in custody aged between 14 and under 21. Chi Lan and Wai Lan Rehabilitation Centres accommodate young female persons in custody 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. Hei Ling Chau Addiction Treatment Centre accommodates adult male drug abusers while Lai Sun Correctional Institution accommodates both adult and young male drug abusers. Adult and young female drug abusers are accommodated at Nei Kwu Correctional Institution and Lai King Correctional Institution respectively. An inmate undergoes the treatment programme for two to 12 months, which is based on discipline and open-air physical activities including work programmes and therapy, and is supported by one-year post release statutory supervision.
Psychiatric assessment and treatment: 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 persons in custody reintegrate into society through acquisition of skills in industrial work and by providing vocational training to enhance their employability.
In 2018, a daily average of 4 392 persons in custody 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, hospital linen, filter masks, fiberglass products, traffic signs, metal railings, slabs and kerbs for infrastructure projects. Persons in custody 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. The market value of these goods and services was $442 million.
A series of diversified and market-oriented vocational training programmes with recognised accreditation are organised for both young and adult persons in custody to strengthen their capability for future employment and enhance reintegration.
For young persons in custody, CSD provides half-day compulsory information technology, commercial and service industry training. Equal importance is placed on theoretical and practical aspects of the curriculum which prepare them for further training after release.
For adult persons in custody, CSD provides pre-release vocational training courses on a full-time and part- time voluntary basis in various adult institutions. Convicted adult persons in custody 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.
Statutory Supervision: To ensure continuous care and guidance, statutory supervision is provided for young persons in custody; 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), Pre-release Employment Scheme (PRES), Post-release Supervision of Prisoners Scheme (PRSS), Conditional Release Scheme (CRS) and Supervision After Release Scheme (SARS). Supervising officers work closely with the persons in custody and their families to help foster good relationship between them and prepare them to face possible challenges and demands upon their return to the community. Regular contacts are maintained with every person 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 supervisees released from detention, training and drug addiction treatment centres; Pelican House which is annexed to Phoenix House for persons in custody released under the RUSS, PRES and CRS as well as adults from drug addiction treatment entres and supervisees released under the PRSS with accommodation needs; and Bauhinia House in Tai Lam Chung for female persons released under the RUSS, PRES and CRS and female supervisees released from training and drug addiction treatment centres.
Success rates mean the percentage of supervisees who complete the statutory supervision without reconviction. For supervisees from drug addiction treatment centre, they must also remain drug free. In 2018, the success rates were: detention centre (100 per cent), training centres (79 per cent), drug addiction treatment centres (52 per cent), rehabilitation centres (96 per cent), young persons in custody under Prison Programme (97 per cent), RUSS (100 per cent), PRES (100 per cent), SARS (100 per cent), CRS (100 per cent) and PRSS (95 per cent). Altogether, 1 272 males and 249 females completed statutory supervision in 2018 whereas 1 146 males and 266 females were under active supervision as at end of 2018.
Welfare and Counselling Services: Rehabilitation Officers look after the welfare of persons in custody 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 persons in custody serving long-term sentences to spend their time purposefully and the Pre-release Re-integration Orientation Courses to prepare them for release.
To further improve rehabilitation porgrammes for persons in custody through community involvement, CSD officers work closely with rehabilitation synergistic partners to provide rehabilitation programmes. In 2018, around 100 NGOs/charity organisations/ synergistic partners/community stakeholders provided counselling and kept running cultural, religious and recreational projects, or services to address the rehabilitation needs of the persons in custody.
Psychological Services: Psychological programmes are provided for persons in custody 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 persons in custody. Therapeutic programmes for persons in custody include Offending Behaviour Programme for young persons in custody which targets criminogenic factors related to offending. Drug Abuse Rehabilitation Programme for drug abusers in drug addiction treatment centres and Violence Prevention Programme targeting at changing the violent offending behavior of adult persons in custody. Sex offenders are scheduled to receive systematic treatment programmes in the Sex Offenders Evaluation and Treatment Unit (ETU) aiming at changing their offending behaviour. Gender-specific and systematic psychological treatment programmes are provided to adult female persons in custody in the PSYGYM – Personal Growth and Emotion Treatment Centre for Women to help them to develop a constructive lifestyle. The first positive living centre for men, Life Gym, was launched in November 2018 to provide male-responsive psychological treatment programmes to help participants desist from crime and cultivate positive living. To encourage family members’ participation in the rehabilitation of young persons in custody, an enhanced Inmate-Parent Programme – “Heart Start” was introduced in late 2015 to further address the latest needs of young offenders in nowadays families.
Psychological services are also offered to staff and their family members, providing mental health promotion, psychological intervention and stress management training etc. A healthy and balanced lifestyle has been actively promoted by the Department since 2010.
Education: Half-day compulsory education in general and practical subjects is provided for young persons in custody. The programmes enable them to improve their academic standards which help their future re-integration. They are encouraged to study for local and international accredited public examinations. Tutorial groups and hobby classes conducted by volunteer tutors are also run in adult institutions, where persons in custody can enrol voluntarily. Persons in custody are also encouraged to participate in self-study courses or distance 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 persons in custody. With more than 100 active volunteers, the Group conducted language courses, computer studies, cultural pursuits, etc., for persons in custody in various correctional institutions during the year. Publicity activities have been ongoing since 1999, constituting a bridge between persons in custody and society. Through such activities as TV and Radio Announcements in the Public Interest, TV variety shows, TV documentary-drama series, Symposiums on Employment for Rehabilitated Offenders, Job Fair for Rehabilitated Offenders, certificate presentation ceremonies for persons in custody, NGO Forum, Thank you NGO activities, joint community involvement activities with the District Fight Crime Committees, and Award Presentation Ceremony for Volunteers of CSDRVG held over the years, the importance of collaborative efforts made by members of the community and NGOs to accept and help persons in custody rehabilitate is highlighted.
Rehabilitation Pioneer Project (RPP): The RPP includes a series of community education activities such as Education Talks, Personal Encounter with Prisoners Scheme, Green Haven Scheme, Visits to Hong Kong Correctional Services Museum, Extended Training Camp, Student Forum, Drama and Music Performance of “Creation and Rehabilitation”, the Reflective Path, Summer Camp and the newly established Rehabilitation Pioneer Leaders to disseminate to the public the messages of leading a law-abiding and drug-free life as well as supporting offender rehabilitation. The Education Talks provide basic information on Hong Kong’s criminal justice system and CSD’s custodial and rehabilitative programmes. The Personal Encounter with Prisoners Scheme instills anti-crime awareness by arranging young students to visit correctional institutions and meet with persons in custody for experience sharing. The Green Haven Scheme promotes anti-drug messages and the importance of environmental protection among young people. Participants meet with young persons in custody at 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 Student Forum is another community education programme which stimulates students’ introspection and participation through an interactive platform and a sharing session by a rehabilitated person. The Extended Training Camp, which lasts for three days and two nights, features a series of discipline training activities aiming at enhancing participants’ confidence and developing their positive values. The Drama and Music Performance of Creation and Rehabilitation” enables students to enjoy drama and music performances presented by persons in custody to warn the students against committing crimes and remind them the importance of obeying the law. The Reflective Path aims at enhancing students’ understanding of the criminal judicial system and correctional services, as well as the heavy cost for committing crimes through the simulation of imprisonment. Different competitions targeting on the youth are organised by CSD every year to disseminate the messages of leading a law-abiding and drug-free life as well as supporting offender rehabilitation. Prize winners of the competitions will be arranged to join a Mainland tour. Participants will attend adventure-based training and visits to schools and families in rural areas, an eco-friendly factory of a global enterprise as well as large-scale infrastructure, so as to provide them with an all-round learning experience conducive to their whole-person development, and to foster the development of positive values and attitudes. Rehabilitation Pioneer Leaders is a youth uniformed group established in July 2018. Youngsters with leadership potential are recruited, brought together and offered diversified training with a view to broadening their horizon, developing their potential and discipline as well as strengthening a sense of social responsibility. They are also encouraged to actively contribute to the society in future by helping promote law-abiding and inclusive values for a better Hong Kong.
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 persons in custody. Many volunteers of other religions and rehabilitation synergistic partners also provide a wide range of spiritual and social services in institutions.
Medical & Health Care in Institutions: All institutions have on-premises hospitals and are staffed by qualified healthcare personnel. In collaboration with the Medical Officers from the Department of Health, round-the-clock basic health care services are provided in all institutions. Persons in custody who need further treatment and investigations are referred to visiting specialists or public hospital for follow up.
Visiting Justices: Two visiting Justices of the Peace visit each penal institution fortnightly or monthly, depending on the type of facility. The Justices of the Peace carry out relevant statutory duties such as investigating complaints made to them by persons in custody, inspecting diets and examining buildings and accommodation facilities. Visits are made at times and on days of their own choice 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.
The Staff Training Institute organizes and delivers various training programmes. Newly-recruited Officers and Assistant Officers II have to undergo 26-week and 23-week recruit training respectively with operational knowledge of CSD, virtual reality training, scenario training at training site, tactical training and field placement at correctional institutions. Professional development training courses such as refresher courses, job-related training courses, professional management training and command training courses are regularly conducted at the institute to help foster individual work efficacy and their career development. The Staff Training Institute continues to strengthen collaboration with external training partners, including local and overseas tertiary institutions, Mainland and overseas training organisations. It as well as appoints relevant professionals and members of the academia as Honorary Advisors.
To further enhance the culture of continuing education and life-long learning of CSD, the department has developed and established a Knowledge Management System in 2010, a one-stop online platform for learning, experience sharing and knowledge succession, in order to maximize staff learning effectiveness with the use of learning technologies. In 2018, CSD has won the first-ever Hong Kong Most Innovative Knowledge Enterprise (MIKE) Award 2018 and the Asian Global MIKE Award 2018. The knowledge management and innovation of CSD are internationally acclaimed.
Caring for all: Apart from performing their daily duties, CSD staff is encouraged to extend their spirit of caring for community by participating in various charitable activities such as voluntary work for fund-raising activities and offering advices to rehabilitation synergistic partners that provide services to rehabilitated offenders, etc.
In recognition of the department's continuing and total commitment in caring for the well-being of staff. Their families and the community as a whole, CSD was awarded the “10 Years Plus Caring Organisation Logo” again in the year 2018/19 by the Hong Kong Council of Social Service, having also been presented with the renowned “Total Caring Award” in the year 2007/08.