Do persons in custody (PICs) not need to work if they opt for study? Or they use their leisure time for study? CSD’s Education Unit provides half-day education for young PICs under the age of 21 while adult PICs can enrol in distance learning courses and sit for public examinations on a voluntary basis. According to Rule 38 of the Prison Rules, all convicted adult PICs (except on medical grounds) are required to engage in work. Therefore, convicted adult PICs have to use their leisure time for self-studies.
How do PICs conduct video visits with their family members? Institutions can arrange video visits for PICs’ relatives and friends who have difficulties in physically coming to institutions for visit due to age, pregnancy, disabilities or other special reasons. PICs may apply for video visits, and the management of the respective institution will carefully consider each application. Eligible PICs 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 can conduct the video visit at Mongkok Counselling Centre located at M/F., Mongkok Government Offices, No. 30 Luen Wan Street, Mongkok, Kowloon.
What kind of work do PICs do in prisons? Is it different for male and female PICs? CSD keeps convicted adult PICs purposely and gainfully occupied for maintaining order and discipline with a view to facilitating prison stability. In the pursuit of rehabilitation for offenders, the Industries and Vocational Training Section helps PICs reintegrate into society through acquisition of skills in industrial work and by providing vocational training to enhance their employability. Currently, there are 13 different trades in Correctional Services Industries, namely laundry service, garment making, sign making, carpentry, fibreglass products, precast concrete products, metal work, knitting, leather products, envelope making, printing, bookbinding and simple manual work (including masks). The work is designed mainly for equipping PICs with suitable work skills and is subject to the facilities and environment of the institution as well as the categories of PICs, instead of gender-oriented.
What will be done if PICs fall ill in correctional institutions? If PICs feel unwell, they can notify the staff on duty. Medical consultation will then be arranged at the hospital inside the institution. Every correctional institution has a hospital or sick bay where 24-hour basic medical services are provided by Medical Officers from the Department of Health and correctional officers with nursing qualifications. If PICs need further examination and treatment as advised by the Medical Officers, the institutional management will transfer them to public hospitals for follow-up.
Are there any interactive programmes for PICs during festive occasions such as Christmas or Lunar New Year? All PIC, regardless of their religious affiliation, are offered spiritual and social services by chaplains of CSD, and visitors from other religious/non-governmental organisations. The services include visits, counselling, religious worship and recreational activities. Religious organisations will also hold masses and gatherings in institutions on festive occasions. For example, during the recent Christmas, the Reverend Joseph HA, The Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of Hong Kong, and the Most Reverend Dr Paul Kwong, Archbishop of the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui conducted masses/services at Stanley Prison. Besides, during Christmas or Luner New Year, some of the institutions organise design and decoration competitions for PICs to experience the festive atmosphere.
How can we learn about the registration number and whereabouts of a PIC? 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 PIC provided that the enquiring person is the declared visitor and prior consent is obtained from the concerned PIC. Enquiries involving other sentence particulars of a PIC will normally not be entertained. For enquiries, please visit our website or contact our hotline at 2511 3511. In fact, if PICs want to inform relatives and friends of their admission/transfer/discharge, they can seek assistance from our staff of Rehabilitation Division.
Can PICs buy newspapers and magazines? If they have to buy books for courses enrolled or examinations, what would be the arrangement by the management? Is there any regulation on the number of books each PIC can buy? A PIC can apply for receiving a daily newspapers paid by relatives or friends on his/her behalf by placing an order with the publisher or a registered agent. Correctional institutions also provide newspapers for all PICs to read. A PIC may receive no more than six magazines, periodicals and other general reading materials handed in by relatives or friends during visits per month. Devotional books are not subject to any limit. Textbooks required for courses enrolled are allowed on any approved quantities through normal channel where visitors can hand in the textbooks during visits for distribution to PICs.
Is there any guideline on the time and frequency of visit and the number of visitors for each visit? Remand PICs 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 PICs 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. Besides, in the interest of a convicted PIC’s rehabilitation and relationship with one’s family, all convicted PICs may request to receive two additional visits per month with his family. On admission, all PICs 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.
How can youngsters join CSD’s community education activities if they are interested? CSD collaborates with educational institutions and community service organisations to promote community education. CSD aims at helping students and young people develop positive values towards life and become responsible and law-abiding citizens with a view to reducing crime. In September 2008, CSD launched the Rehabilitation Pioneer Project (RPP) targeting at secondary school students and youngsters. Through 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 Rehabilitation Pioneer Leaders, CSD seeks to disseminate to young people the messages of leading a law-abiding and drug-free life as well as supporting offender rehabilitation. Any organisations interested in participating in the activities of the RPP may visit our website for details from the timetable, download the application form and return the completed form to the RPP Office by email (firstname.lastname@example.org). For enquiries, please contact the RPP Office at 2259 3349 / 2320 7568 / 3525 0126 during office hours or send to the RPP Office (Address: Flat A, 16/F, Block F, 3 Lok Man Road, Chai Wan, Hong Kong) by mail. For updated information, please enquire by email (email@example.com) or visit the RPP Facebook Page.
Lo Wu Correctional Institution has established the Psychological Gymnasium (PSY GYM), tailor-made for female persons in custody (PICs). What is the purpose of establishing the PSY GYM? How special is it? The Psychological Gymnasium (PSY GYM) was officially launched in 2011. It is located at Lo Wu Correctional Institution where diversified and specific psychological treatment are provided for female PICs with medium to serious emotional and mental problems. Clinical Psychologists find that factors causing females to commit crime are different from those of males. Besides, female PICs also have their specific rehabilitative needs, for example, they are more vulnerable to various kinds of depression than male PICs. They have more experiences of suffering from abuse and traumas. Many of them have a tendency to self-harm. In this connection, the PSY GYM is established to offer emotional treatment to female PICs to foster their mental health and personal growth. In particular, the PSY GYM is furnished with comfortable furniture, elegant decoration and soft illumination which can enhance the result of emotional treatment for female PICs. Apart from employing traditional psychological treatment, the PSY GYM also introduces positive psychology to provide a novel concept of treatment through which the participants can “identify self-potential” to enhance the result of treatment. As artistic elements are added to the psychological treatment, the PSY GYM facilitates participants to reflect their inner feelings and thoughts so as to release and address their personal distress. The PSY GYM adopts the Therapeutic Community to allow participants to help each other and build up relationship. They also put into practice the psychological skills acquired from the group. At the same time, clinical psychologists are also aware of their difficulties, which will be used as topics for group discussion to enable them to learn new handling skills so as to strengthen the treatment effects.
What measures does CSD adopt to assist PICs in finding jobs? CSD works closely with various employers, business organisations and statutory bodies to enhance employers’ understanding of PICs and rehabilitation services by visits to institutions and other exchanges so as to encourage them to offer employment opportunities to PICs and rehabilitated persons. CSD has all along been calling on the public and employers to include, accept and fairly employ rehabilitated persons in order to facilitate their reintegration into society. CSD also offers 'Employment Services' which aims to provide an interactive job-matching platform for potential employers and rehabilitated persons. Job vacancies of various trades from potential employers and updated employment information are regularly referred to PICs and supervisees by means of notice boards and Light Emitted Diode (LED) Display Boards in correctional institutions and supervising sections. Such information is also conveyed to PICs during Induction Programme and Pre-release Reintegration Orientation Course. Interested PICs/ inmates due for discharge within 3 months and supervisees who are under active statutory supervision may approach staff of institutional Rehabilitation Unit for filling in the form for job application. Job interviews in person/by video-conference/by tele-conference can be arranged by institutional Rehabilitation Unit at the request of potential employers.
How to lodge an application if anyone is interested in working as a volunteer in prisons? Anyone interested in working as a volunteer in correctional institutions may apply to join the CSD Rehabilitation Volunteer Group (RVG). The main duty of RVG’s members is to conduct a variety of hobby classes for persons in custody (PICs) in various correctional institutions, such as language courses of Cantonese, Mandarin, English; table tennis training, basketball, Qigong, Tai Chi, Yoga, Chinese calligraphy, beauty care, origami and light clay class, etc. Also, RVG’s members may conduct courses of computer application, oral English, DSE English and Interviewing skills upon rehabilitative needs from individual institutions. The RVG also participated in rehabilitation events and community education programmes organised by the Department. Training will be provided to new members by RVG in order to facilitate them with a brief understanding on CSD, our rehabilitation services and characteristics of PICs. Those aged 18 with tertiary qualifications or above may join the RVG. Please feel free to call the Office of RVG (Tel.: 2505 1492) for further details.
Do PICs serving life sentences have any chance to be released or have an early release? For PICs serving indeterminate or long-term sentences, if they are willing to rehabilitate and well prepared to reintegrate into society, their indeterminate sentence may be substituted by a determinate one, or they may be released conditionally under supervision. According to the Long-term Prison Sentences Review Ordinance, Cap. 524, the principal function of the Long-term Prison Sentences Review Board is to conduct regular reviews on the cases of persons, including those serving indeterminate sentences. All members of the Long-term Prison Sentences Review Board are appointed by the Chief Executive, and the President and the Deputy President should hold or have held office as a judge of the Court of First Instance of the High Court. Other members have expertise or experience in various disciplines including psychiatry, psychology, rehabilitation of offenders, social work, legal, education, commerce and industry. When conducting a sentence review, the Board may recommend to the Chief Executive that an indeterminate sentence of a subject be substituted by a determinate one or that a determinate sentence of a subject be remitted. Besides, the Board may order a subject who is serving an indeterminate sentence to be released conditionally under supervision. For a subject whose indeterminate sentence has been converted to a determinate one by the Chief Executive, the Board may also make a post-release supervision order directing the early release of the subject under supervision. The powers conferred to the Board to order conditional release and post-release supervision ensure that the subjects, after having been incarcerated for a long period of time, are provided with guidance and assistance to help them reintegrate into society and lead a law-abiding life.
How much do PICs earn? What kinds of work posts in prison are most and least well paid? How can PICs increase their earnings? Are their earnings adjusted with reference to civil service pay? Given all basic necessities of PICs including diets and medical services are provided by the Government, their earnings in fact carry the meaning of incentive payments to encourage PICs to develop good working habits and skills. The current earnings per week range from HK$46 to $200, subject to different work posts which can be further classified as apprentice labour or skilled labour. In general, earnings of more difficult work posts are higher. Correctional Officers shall observe and assess PICs’ work performance and learning progress, and propose work posts and earning increment for PICs to the Work and Vocational Training Allocation Board in accordance with the guidelines. Earnings of PICs will be reviewed annually according to an established mechanism or reviewed when there are changes in the contract prices of canteen items, so as to maintain PIC’s purchasing power and motivation at work.
How many meals can a PIC have a day? What food items are provided? If the portion of steamed rice is not enough for a PIC with a strong appetite, can the PIC have an extra portion? CSD provides all PICs with plain and wholesome food under the law. Currently, each PIC is provided with a total of four meals every day, namely breakfast, lunch, supper and night snack. Although the meals are said to be plain and wholesome, they are in fact by no means plain. The dietary scales and quantity of meals are designed by accredited dietitians and approved by the Department of Health. In addition, there is a wide variety of diets. Apart from the four main dietary scales, there are also 37 supplementary diets and the menu would change every two weeks. PICs may request for change of dietary scale with regard to religious belief, health condition and dietary requirement. For the food items, there are different combinations of food items every day, including pork, beef, chicken, fish, beans, bean products and eggs. PICs are also provided with food such as vegetables, fruits and skimmed milk every day. If a PIC has a particularly strong appetite or special needs on diets, after being assessed by Medical Officer, the institution will make suitable arrangement.
Is there any non-smoking dormitory in prisons? Would smoking and non-smoking PICs be arranged to stay at the same dormitory? Currently, there is a total smoking ban at correctional facilities for young PICs so they will not be affected by secondhand smoke. For adult PICs, with a view to promoting a no smoking culture, CSD assigned Tung Tau Correctional Institution as the first “No Smoking Correctional Facility” on 1 January 2013, and Pak Sha Wan Correctional Institution as the second “No Smoking Correctional Facility” on 1 December 2014 to accommodate adult PICs who do not smoke.
Are there any special dietary arrangements for pregnant PICs? Can postnatal women in prison consume nourishing food in light of their needs? Can they receive nourishing food from their relatives? CSD would take care of the dietary needs of different PICs, including pregnant or postnatal PICs. The dietary scales currently provided by CSD are designed by qualified dietitians and approved by the Department of Health. There are standards on the portion and nutrients of dietary scales so that PICs do not need to consume external food for nutrients. If PICs have special dietary needs, taking pregnant or postnatal PICs as an example, institutions will make suitable arrangements based on the advice of Medical Officer, which include providing extra food items such as meat, eggs, milk and rice. In addition, the law stipulates that convicted PICs can only consume the food provided by the institutions. Therefore, relatives cannot bring nourishing food to pregnant or postnatal PICs during visits.
Are PICs in penal institutions provided with sufficient daily necessities? CSD provides all PICs with daily necessities including clothes, blankets, towels, soaps, toothbrushes, toothpaste and combs. In addition, PICs can also keep the approved hand-in articles received from their visitors, including wet tissues, dental floss, periodicals, exercise books and ball pens, but some of these articles require prior approval. Meanwhile, PICs can also use their earnings from work to buy the approved items, including daily necessities and snacks, through canteen purchase arrangements twice a month.
Are there any special programmes for PICs in correctional institutions during festive occasions? Please explain the arrangements made and the special food offered by the institutions. Though PICs are unable to enjoy the festive occasions with their families, CSD, adopting a people-oriented approach, provides PICs with extra food items and organises various types of activities in the three major traditional festivals of Hong Kong, namely Lunar New Year, Mid-Autumn Festival and Christmas to let PICs feel that they are being cared about and create a festive atmosphere for them during major festivals. In addition to normal meals, CSD will provide preserved Chinese sausages and vegetarian food during the Lunar New Year, and chicken legs, spring rolls, sausages, pears, mandarin oranges, etc. during the Mid-Autumn festival and Christmas. Besides, the department will arrange representatives from non-governmental organisations, religious organisations or foreign consulates to hold different religious activities or gatherings for PICs and distribute articles like mooncakes or snacks to PICs during the above festivals where prior approvals have been given. Correctional institutions will also organise various types of recreational activities and ball games for PICs.
If PICs wear prostheses or even falsies in the case of breast cancer, do they need to remove them upon imprisonment? It is known that PICs are not allowed to bring outside articles into the institutions. If a female PIC is wearing an intrauterine contraceptive device, does she need to remove it? Upon entering correctional institutions, PICs will undergo a body check by medical officers (MO). After the assessment, if the MOs opine that prostheses or other medical aids are required, they can continue to wear them. Generally speaking, upon admission to institutions, PICs have to hand over their personal belongings to the institutions for safe custody except medical aids. Of course, approvals for certain articles like compliant spectacles will be granted by correctional institutions on a case-by-case basis.
Apart from academic programmes for PICs’ enrolment, do correctional institutions provide other vocational training courses like haircutting and beauty care? CSD provides PICs with different vocational training courses to enable them to acquire the vocational skills required in the market, and to facilitate their smooth re-integration into society. To enhance PICs’ employability, CSD arranges them to attend market-oriented training courses and trade tests held by external training bodies (such as the Employees Retraining Board, the Construction Industry Council, the Vocational Training Council, Clothing Industry Training Authority) to attain vocational qualifications. Currently, CSD organises various market-oriented vocational training programmes annually to help PICs prepare themselves well for employment after release. Besides, CSD also provides half-day education and half-day vocational training for young PICs. Currently, CSD provides them with various vocational training courses, covering construction, business and service industries, like electrical installation, computer design & drafting, hairstyling, beauty care, food and beverage services and arranges them to sit for the examinations held by accreditation bodies, such as the certification examinations of the City and Guilds and the intermediate trade tests of the Construction Industry Council, and the certificate courses offered by various training bodies.
Can relatives and friends bring food for PICs upon visit? CSD provides all PICs with plain and wholesome food. All the dietary scales are designed by accredited dietitians with nutritional contents approved by the Department of Health and in compliance with international health guidelines. Having regard to the health, dietary and religious needs of PICs, CSD currently provides 4 main dietary scales, namely local staple rice diet (Dietary Scale 1), diet of curries and chapatti (Dietary Scale 2), diet of bread and potatoes (Dietary Scale 3) and vegetarian diet (Dietary Scale 4). Moreover, PICs may be provided with other supplementary diets derived from the four major dietary scales to meet their specific needs. For remand PICs, they may also procure or receive food. For private food arrangement, enquiries 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 on the CSD website for details.
What kinds of items can relatives and friends bring for PICs upon visit? Relatives and friends can bring approved articles for PICs upon visit, such as paper tissues, lip balms, periodicals, exercise books and ball pens. Please refer to the lists of Approved Hand-in Articles on the CSD website for details. If visitors wish to hand in any approved articles, 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 PICs.
PICs are subject to probation upon completion of their sentence. What is a probation? Haven’t they fulfilled their criminal liabilities already after release? If a person is detained under the Drug Addiction Treatment Centres Ordinance, Detention Centres Ordinance, Training Centres Ordinance or Rehabilitation Centres Ordinance, there will be a supervision period following release, with a length of 12 months for the former three and 36 months for the last one. If a person has been sentenced to imprisonment for 3 months or above, and is under 21 years of age when he/she began to serve, and under 25 years of age on discharge, he/she will be subject to supervision for a period of 1 year from the date of discharge. Besides, the Long-term Prison Sentences Review Board, Post-Release Supervision Board and Release Under Supervision Board would also specify the statutory supervision on qualified PICs. The Boards will decide the supervision period case by case with respect to the length of sentence. CSD is currently responsible for managing a total of 10 different supervision schemes. The purpose of statutory supervision is to ensure continued care and guidance for inmates released. Staff on supervision duties will continue to closely supervise the discharged inmates through regular visits made to their home or workplace and guidance provided. If a person breaches the Supervision Order, he/she may be subject to recall or re-imprisonment for the remainder of the sentence.
CSD has launched an initiative called the Reflective Path. What are the details of the project? The Reflective Path is one of the educational programmes to introduce simulated activities for experiencing custodial life under the Rehabilitation Pioneer Project launched in September 2015. Through the simulation of the real situation in prison, students are able to experience the life of PICs in correctional institutions and reflect on the detrimental effects of committing crimes. The project covers a wide range of activities such as mock court hearing, simulated reception procedures, custody in dormitories and single cells, foot drill training, simulated work groups and sharing session by PICs, etc. It aims to enhance participants’ understanding of the criminal judicial system and correctional services, as well as the heavy price for committing crimes.
As PICs with chronic illnesses may not be able to handle daily work, what will be the arrangement of CSD? If they cannot work due to illnesses, will the institutional management deduct their earnings? Is there any other situation under which their earnings will be deducted? According to Rule 38 of the Prison Rules, all convicted adult PICs (except on medical grounds) are required to engage in work. PICs shall work for 6 days a week, whose hours of labour shall not be less than 6 nor more than 10 daily. Medical officers at institutions will assess whether a PIC is suitable to take up a specific task, based on his/her physical and mental health. PICs who have been certified by the Medical Officer as unfit for work on medical grounds are exempted and may receive a basic level of earnings weekly. Every correctional institution has a hospital or sick bay where 24-hour basic medical services are provided by Medical Officers from the Department of Health and correctional officers with nursing qualifications. If PICs need to visit public hospitals or specialist clinics for treatments or medical follow-ups, the Department will arrange the PICs for outside medical treatment.
If PICs or the public would like to complain against CSD, what are the channels? CSD all along attaches great importance to the treatment of PICs and handling of complaints. If a PIC feels aggrieved by the treatments in the institution, he/she may lodge a complaint or express his/her discontent through various channels within or outside CSD. Within CSD, the PIC can lodge a complaint to the institutional management, directorate officers of the CSD Headquarters during their inspection to the correctional institutions or the Complaints Investigation Unit (CIU) of the CSD. CIU is an independent unit appointed by the Commissioner of Correctional Services which will carry out investigation on each and every complaint case in a fair, impartial and comprehensive manner, or make referral to other law enforcement agencies for follow-up according to circumstances. For instance, if it is a suspected criminal case, the Department will refer the case to Police for follow-up action. As for external channels, PICs may write to members of the Legislative Council, The Ombudsman, statutory bodies or other law enforcement agencies, etc. to lodge their complaints. Besides, they can choose to seek assistance from or lodge their complaints to the visiting Justices of the Peace during the latter's surprise inspections to their institutions. Complaints/opinions about any staff or policies of CSD may be lodged with CIU in person, by phone, by fax, by email or in writing.
What clothing will be provided to PICs during winter weather? Is there any limit on the quantity? Can they ask for additional bedding? CSD provides every PIC with a complete outfit of clothing and blankets adequate for warmth and replacement in accordance with statutory requirements. In winter, long sleeves underwear and underpants, long sleeves pullovers and pants, fleece pullovers, fleece jackets, socks and five blankets are distributed to them by the institutions. In the event of cold weather, the institutions will voluntarily distribute one or two additional blankets to them. If individual PICs need additional clothing and blankets on medical grounds, they can make such requests to Medical Officers (MOs) at the institutions. Suitable arrangements will be made in accordance with MOs’ recommendations. Besides, to keep pace with the times, CSD reviews the design and materials of the clothing and bedding for PICs from time to time. For example, in 2016, the wool pullovers and nylon padded jackets of PICs’ winter clothing were replaced with double-sided fleece pullovers and three-layer laminated fleece jackets to enhance the warmth, windproof and moisture permeability functions. Besides, padded quilt blankets with high warmth value were used on a trial basis for better storage and management.
Upon receiving complaints from members of the public, how can CSD avoid outside criticisms of “conducting investigation by peers”? CSD has all along attached great importance to the complaints lodged by any person and handled them in a fair manner. The Complaints Investigation Unit of CSD will conduct investigation into each complaint meticulously, and submit reports to the Correctional Services Department Complaints Committee (CSDCC) for examination. Cases with investigation findings classified as “substantiated” are those with adequate evidence to prove that all or part of the allegations and/or other misconduct directly related to the allegations are established after investigation. CSDCC is chaired by a civilian officer (Administrative Officer Staff Grade C) of CSD who is independent from the disciplined establishment. Its membership comprises an Assistant Commissioner of CSD, 4 senior correctional officers and a chaplain. The chaplain is appointed by the Chief Executive in accordance with the Prisons Ordinance (Cap. 234). He shall have access to PICs at all reasonable times and have the duty to report any improprieties in the prison which may come to his knowledge. The composition of CSDCC has duly taken into account the requirement of independence and impartiality. The Correctional Services Department Complaints Appeal Board (CSDCAB), established in August 2016, is chaired by the Deputy Commissioner of Correctional Services. Prominent community members familiarised with the correctional regime are invited to serve as non-official members to further enhance the transparency and credibility of CSD’s complaints handling mechanism to achieve openness, fairness and justice. CSDCAB is responsible for re-examining complaints and making final decision on the appeal cases against the findings endorsed by CSDCC. To broaden the structure of CSDCAB and to enhance the independence of the reviewing mechanism, the number of members has been increased to 24, comprising Justices of the Peace and religious persons who are acquainted with correctional operations.
In general, what is the time for distribution of letters to PICs in correctional institutions? For PICs in breach of rules in the institutions, can they still receive letters? In accordance with Rule 47 of the Prison Rules, PICs may receive or send any number of letters. Convicted PICs can send one free letter per week with envelope, papers and postage at public expense. If they want to send more, they can use their earnings from work to purchase papers, envelopes, and stamps. For remand PICs, they will be furnished with reasonable amount of paper and other writing materials to write letters. If necessary, all PICs may also apply to receive appropriate amount of paper, envelope and stamp from visitors. Hence, all PICs have the rights to receive or write letters. Even though they have committed indiscipline acts in institutions, their rights to receive letters are not affected. Generally speaking, upon receiving letters for PICs, the institutions will perform classification, security check and registration, and then distribute them to the PICs within the next working day. The time for distribution of letters slightly varies according to the actual operation of the institutions.
If a PIC is a mother whose children are only few years old, how can CSD help her maintain the relationship with her young children? Parent-Child Centres are established in female correctional institutions, such as Lo Wu Correctional Institution (LWCI) and Tai Lam Centre for Women, for mothers who are PICs to meet their children. The decorations in Parent-Child Centres in LWCI are no different from those of normal children's play rooms, providing a safe and comfortable environment for female PICs to meet their young children aged below 6. Parent-Child Centre comprises “Exploratory play zone”, “Social play zone”, “Creative play zone”, “Free play zone” and “Read and parent resource area”, where mothers who are PICs can play, read and feed their children, so as to encourage them to play their role in their families, rebuild the parent-child relationships and pave the way for them to reintegrate into the community. Mothers who are PICs have to make a booking via telephone, and they can meet their children for 2 hours each time to establish parent-child relationships.
CSD has launched a programme called the Reflective Path for young people to experience the life of PICs in correctional institutions. Will this cause negative impacts on young people? The content of the programme is designed with reference to opinions from different sectors and assessments by clinical psychologists to strike a balance among the impacts brought to the participants in order to ensure participants have valuable experiences without excessive negative impact. With five trial runs carried out since May 2015, the whole programme was finalised after thorough discussions and revisions, with minor adjustments made on particular items based on the actual response in the trial runs, including using different cases for discussion in mock hearings, and adjusting the rational thinking requirements of the programme according to the age and maturity of participants.
Do PICs of low education levels have the opportunities to take retraining courses? Currently, over 1 400 places in more than 40 various market-oriented vocational training courses are provided for adult PICs, and the training quotas would be flexibly adjusted with reference to the number and response of PICs. Only 3 courses require the education level of Secondary 3 or above and 14 courses require the education level of Primary 6 or above, while the rest of the courses do not require a minimum education level. All the academic requirements are specific admission criteria set by the course providers such as Employees Retraining Board (ERB) and Vocational Training Council (VTC), which are the same for the public.
Must PICs consume the food provided in prisons? Is there any arrangement for them to consume private food? All convicted PICs shall consume meals provided by institutions under the law. For remand PICs, they may choose to consume meals provided by institutions, or order private food at their own expense from designated suppliers after seeking and obtaining prior permission.
Do PICs need to work? Do they have time for study? CSD provides half-day education and half-day vocational training for young PICs, while adult PICs shall be required to engage in useful work for 6 days a week and not more than 10 hours a day. Adult PICs can pursue further studies in their spare time, enrol in distance learning courses according to their interests and abilities and take public examinations on a voluntary basis, such as enrolling in distance learning courses of the Open University of Hong Kong.
For young PICs who have completed secondary education, are there any opportunities for them to pursue further studies? CSD provides half-day education for young PICs and assists qualified PICs to take public examinations, such as Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination (HKDSE). After completing HKDSE, PICs can apply for programmes of local universities or post-secondary institutions, and pursue first degree, associate degree and higher diploma programmes upon discharge. The Department also encourages PICs to enrol in distance learning courses of the Open University of Hong Kong and provides appropriate assistance.
Are PICs required to work every day? Any rest days on Sundays or public holidays? If they need to work overtime, do they have any overtime allowance? The institutions will arrange PICs to take a rest day every week. If PICs are required to work overtime during long holidays to meet the operational needs, volunteer PICs will be arranged to work and paid with overtime compensation (which equals to 1.5 times of their earnings).
Will correctional institutions arrange PICs to take exercise? According to the legislation, every PIC needs to take exercise unless exempted by the Medical Officers on medical grounds. PICs will be arranged to take exercise outdoors for not less than an hour every day. Physical education instructors will arrange suitable ball games or recreational activities for PICs having regard to factors like institutional operation, the area of sports ground, and the number of PICs in the sports ground. Physical education instructors will be present to provide guidance.
Does CSD have any measures for foreign PICs to learn about the grievance or complaint mechanism of Hong Kong? All PICs newly admitted into correctional institutions will be arranged to undergo an induction programme of which the rights and channels to file grievances and complaints constitute an essential part. Besides, CSD will provide an information booklet of 28 versions in 27 languages to PICs, where the rights and channels to file a complaint are set out. Notices on the channels of complaints will be displayed at prominent places in the institutions. PICs can also learn the details of various channels to file grievances or complaints through the electronic kiosks located at different places in the institutions. Foreign PICs can also file grievances or complaints to Consulate staff members who visit the institutions. If they cannot file complaints owing to language problems, staff of the institutions will arrange suitable translators for assistance.
Are there any books or newspapers provided in prisons for foreign PICs? CSD encourages PICs to use their leisure time for reading wholesome books. Libraries have been set up in various correctional institutions to provide PICs with appropriate books. The total collection of the libraries in correctional institutions currently extend to over 100 000 copies, including books in English and more than 30 other languages such as Vietnamese, Indonesian, Thai, Japanese, Spanish, French, Hindu and Urdu. Besides the books in the libraries of institutions, PICs may also receive no more than six books per month from their relatives and friends to satisfy their reading needs. Apart from books, CSD also provides Chinese and English newspapers every day for PICs to read. PICs may also purchase newspapers at their own expenses if needed.
Can PICs search for information via the internet for assignments or examinations after enrolling in courses? CSD do not allow PICs to directly search for information via the internet due to security reasons. When PICs need to search for information via the internet, if there is no relative or friends to help them, teachers in the correctional institutions or staff of the Rehabilitation Unit may search for PICs, download the information and print it out for their use. CSD has been provided by the Open University of Hong Kong with e-learning materials for PICs’ distance learning courses since September 2015. E-Learning Resources Corners have been set up in 10 correctional institutions, and the materials are for the reference of PICs in need.
Are there any guidelines in prisons on work injury, occupational safety and health and relevant compensations? CSD has formulated and maintained a comprehensive safety management system in accordance with the Safety Management Regulation under the Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance (Cap.59), the Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance (Cap. 509), and the Code of Practice on Safety Management issued by the Commissioner for Labour under Section 7 (1) of Cap.59. The Department will arrange PICs injured at work to apply for ex-gratia payment. All eligible cases shall consult the Labour Department, Department of Justice and Security Bureau, and be approved by Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau. If a PIC suffers from a temporary loss of earning capacity, the Department will provide him/her with daily necessities, including medical services.
Most family members of foreign PICs live outside Hong Kong and they are unable to visit them. Are they allowed to make phone calls to their family members? If a PIC has not received any visits from his/her spouse, children, parents or siblings within a month and he/she neither makes any phone calls to the above family members, they are allowed to make a 10-minute phone call to their overseas spouses, children, parents or siblings. Moreover, Heads of Institutions can approve them to make long-distance calls having regard to individual conditions and needs of PICs. As it is rather difficult for family members of foreign PICs to come to Hong Kong to visit them regularly, CSD will refer the cases to non-government organisations, religious or voluntary agencies which will arrange visits and render assistance to PICs, so as to offer mental and spiritual support. Furthermore, making phone calls is not the only means for PICs to communicate with outside parties. For example, they can write and receive any number of letters to and from anyone.
The society is facing the problem of population ageing. Does the same problem exist in prisons? What measures does CSD adopt? Having regard to different needs of elderly PICs, CSD plans strategically and allocates resources in advance to formulate appropriate rehabilitation programmes for PICs aged 65 or above to assist them in developing positive and healthy lifestyle. CSD implements diversified rehabilitation programmes, covering healthcare services, recreational activities, rehabilitative and institutional facilities tailor-made for elderly PICs. In 2015, male PICs aged 65 or above conforming the security requirements were transferred to the “Evergreen Garden” in Tai Lam Correctional Institution. Inside the Evergreen Garden, there are integrated facilities and arrangements specially designed for elderly PICs, including rehabilitation counselling, exercise facilities and vocational training courses such as Foundation Certificate in Horticulture Assistant Training, Pest Control Training and Cleaning Skill Training to facilitate their reintegration into society after release. There are sick bays in all correctional institutions which are staffed by qualified CSD staff. All along, CSD has been collaborating with the Department of Health (DH) to provide 24-hour basic medical services for PICs in all correctional institutions. PICs who need further treatment and check-up will be arranged to consult visiting specialists or referred to public hospitals for follow-up. Apart from basic medical services, CSD will also regularly arrange body check-up and appropriate recreational activities for elderly PICs. Moreover, CSD regularly works with the DH and local universities to organise talks and workshops for staff to enhance their professional knowledge on nursing for the elderly.
What difficulties does CSD face in addressing the ageing of penal population? Will public expenses be increased? With population ageing, chronic illnesses such as diabetes and hypertension are becoming more and more prevalent. Also, most PICs are drug addicts before admitting into institutions. Therefore, PICs’ demands on medical and healthcare services are rising. Every time a PIC is transferred to an external hospital for treatment, he/she has to be escorted by correctional officers. As each medical escort will probably pose serious security risk to the public, CSD have to deploy sufficient manpower to perform escort duties to ensure public safety. Over the years, the figures of demands on medical escort have remained high all along. This has put great pressure on security risks and human resources.
How do persons interested in correctional work join CSD successfully? CSD is a well-trained, well-motivated and well-disciplined professional force. We aim to recruit persons who share our values and have the motivation in pursuing a career in correctional services. Applicants for the post of Officer are required to pass the physical fitness test, written test, group interview and individual interview. Applicants for the post of Assistant Officer II are required to pass a physical fitness test, followed by a group interview. Once they pass, they have to take the Aptitude Test and Basic Law Test. The final stage would be the individual interview. Persons who are interested in becoming correctional officers shall pay more attention to current affairs and information on CSD in preparation for interviews. They may also visit our recruitment webpage and watch the demonstration videos in preparation for the physical fitness test.
How does CSD arrange television time for PICs in general? What TV channels would be provided for them to watch? In general, PICs may watch television programmes by sessions during holidays and break time in common facilities of the institutions such as dining halls and day rooms. In the selection of television programmes, institutions take into account various factors, including resources allocation of institutions, television signals received, language and programme content, to ensure suitable television programmes are arranged for PICs to watch. Besides, PICs may request duty officers to switch to other television channels. Officers will make suitable arrangements based on actual needs.
It has been reported earlier that PICs are required to squat down in assembly? Is this true? Based on the operational needs of institutions, PICs are arranged to assemble at suitable sites before returning to dormitory for security procedures before lock-up, such as searching. Since the security procedures take time, correctional officers may make flexible arrangements during short breaks while PICs are waiting according to the situations. The institutional management does not require PICs to squat down during short breaks when waiting for security check.
Do PICs have the opportunities to learn music and musical instruments? If they form a music group, will there be any performances? CSD has all along been dedicated to providing diversified rehabilitation programmes for PICs. One of the important elements of the programmes is to enrich PICs’ cultural lives. For example, the Department has all along been establishing a close partnership with non-governmental organisations to run different types of interest groups, including those engaged in musical and recreational activities. CSD Rehabilitation Volunteer Group also organises interest classes like music (including singing and Chinese dances), Putonghua, beauty care and handicraft for foreign PICs. Besides, at the certificate presentation ceremonies held in different institutions and the “Creation and Rehabilitation” drama and music performance staged in Stanley Prison, PICs have the opportunities to perform and unleash their potential in front of prominent community members, students, teachers, principals and their families to demonstrate the fruits of their hard work in music and drama performance, and other talent shows.
Can PICs leave the institutions to see their dying family members? What are the criteria of the management for approving PICs to attend funerals? According to Section 17 of the Prison Rules, all PICs can apply for leave of absence with the Commissioner of Correctional Services. CSD will comprehensively consider various factors of individual cases in granting approvals. These factors include term of sentence, offence, criminal background, security level of prison, public concerns, risk of escape, length of sentence served and PIC’s behaviour in prison, pedestrian flow and security at the location, PIC’s relationship with his family members and other factors for granting approvals. Security risk is one of the important considerations. If PICs apply for leave of absence with the institutions to pay visits to seriously ill relatives or tribute to deceased relatives, correctional institutions will assess their cases according to the above factors. If applications are approved, correctional officers will arrange and escort PICs to pay visits or tribute to their relatives. Upon paying visits or tribute, PICs shall not have bodily contact with any persons, including their relatives on the spot.