For PICs who are not visited by families or friends, can they purchase daily necessities? Will CSD make any special arrangements? CSD provides daily necessities like clothing, bedding, towels, soaps, toothbrushes, toothpaste and combs to all PICs. PICs can also spend their earnings to buy approved items, including daily necessities and snacks, twice a month during canteen purchases. Besides, if PICs have other special needs in their daily lives, they can make requests with staff of the Rehabilitation Section. CSD will provide assistance and make relevant arrangements according to individual circumstances. Apart from PICs’ needs for daily necessities, CSD also concerns about their psychological and spiritual needs. If PICs are not visited by family members and friends, after obtaining consent from these PICs, the institutions will arrange staff of religious organisations or non-governmental organisations to pay visits, so as to render care and support to them.
If PICs serving sentence require the signatures of their family members on certain important documents, how should they apply? Upon admission into correctional institutions, PICs cannot deal with daily family matters on their own, such as paying utility bills and handling school affairs of their children. Generally, PICs will require relatives or friends to bring documents for them to sign, or will sign an authorisation to authorise relatives or friends to handle the matters on their behalf. If PICs encounter such situations and need to sign documents, they may apply to the correctional institution via the staff of the Rehabilitation Unit. Institutional management may exercise discretion in allowing PICs to sign documents (including cheques) during visits while the signed documents shall be carried away by their relatives or friends. Upon admission into correctional institutions, PICs cannot deal with daily family matters on their own, such as paying utility bills and handling school affairs of their children. Generally, PICs will require relatives or friends to bring documents for them to sign, or will sign an authorisation to authorise relatives or friends to handle the matters on their behalf. If PICs encounter such situations and need to sign documents, they may apply to the correctional institution via the staff of the Rehabilitation Unit. Institutional management may exercise discretion in allowing PICs to sign documents (including cheques) during visits while the signed documents shall be carried away by their relatives or friends.
Can a PIC get married in a prison? What are the procedures? The Marriage (Introduction of Civil Celebrants of Marriages and General Amendments) Ordinance ("the Marriage Amendment Ordinance") has come into operation on 13 March 2006. According to Marriage Amendment Ordinance, PICs may apply to register marriage at prisons. If a PIC would like to register marriage in a correctional institution, he/she may apply to the correctional institution via the staff of the Rehabilitation Unit. Once the application is approved, his/her family members may hire a qualified civil celebrant from outside to arrange the registration of marriage. To maintain the security, discipline and order of correctional institutions, the PIC and his/her relatives or friends shall also comply with the rules of the correctional institution during the wedding ceremony. For instance, except exchanging wedding rings during the wedding ceremony, the PIC shall not have bodily contact with other participants of the ceremony. The wedding ring of the concerned PIC shall be taken away from the institution immediately after the ceremony, or else it shall be kept in his/her PIC’s property bag.
Some groups or organisations in society would like to assist in PICs’ rehabilitation. Will CSD allow them to provide services in prisons? CSD has been providing diversified rehabilitation programmes for PICs. An important element of the programmes is to enrich their cultural lives. To this end, the Department has all along maintained a close partnership with non-government organisations (NGOs) to organise various types of interest groups for PICs, including musical and cultural activities. Apart from cultural activities, prison visitors from NGOs also provide a wide range of services in different correctional institutions, including religious and interest groups, individual counselling, vocational guidance and regular visits.
What kinds of rehabilitation programmes does CSD provide for young PICs? Apart from arranging social visits and encouraging young PICs to write more letters to their family members, CSD also organises different types of Inmate-Parent Programmes on a regular basis, such as visits by parents of newly-admitted young PICs, birthday celebrations to enhance parent-child relationships, group activities, parents’ days and seminars offered by clinical psychologists. The aim of organising various kinds of activities is to enhance the relationships between young PICs and their family members, improve their communication skills, boost the determination of young PICs to turn over a new leaf, and help parents learn to manage parent-child relationships and teach their children with a positive attitude, in order to help PICs stay away from crimes and reintegrate smoothly into society upon discharge.
Earlier on, an online video in which Hong Kong high jump athlete Cecilia Yeung visited Pik Uk Correctional Institution and took part as the programme guest. What is that programme? The programme in which Ms Cecilia Yeung took part as the programme guest was "Youth Broadcasting Programme - Shall We Talk", an audio programme for broadcasting produced by trained young PICs. In the programme, young PICs are provided with the opportunities to interview celebrities from various trades or sectors as well as life fighters. They include renowned band Sugar Club, Outstanding Young Person Mr Lui Yue-chun, composers Mr Anthony Lun and Mr Peco Chui. Furthermore, famous athletes such as Hong Kong bowling athlete Mr Wu Siu-hong, wheelchair fencing athlete Ms Yu Chui-yee, and the Headmistress of Apprentice Jockeys' School, Ms Amy Chan, have also been interviewed. The personal experiences of these guests and their stories on how they overcame difficulties bring positive messages to PICs and show the society’s care to young PICs in order to motivate them on the road of rehabilitation. The one-hour programme includes interviews with guests, the broadcasting of songs, a radio drama and an interest workshop. Rehabilitation elements have been added to the programme while the melodies and lyrics of songs can arouse positive energy. The recorded programme is broadcast in correctional institutions for young PICs to spread rehabilitation messages.
Can PICs suffering from tooth decay receive dental filling or wear dentures? What are the respective procedures? 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 (DH) and correctional officers with nursing qualifications. Medical specialists from the Hospital Authority and DH visit the relevant CSD’s institutions on a regular basis to provide consultation and treatment to PICs, including dental treatments. In general, if PICs have dental problems, the resident Medical Officers will refer them for treatments by Dental Officers, such as dental filling or wearing dentures. In case of serious situation, PICs will be referred to public hospitals for further treatment.
Are there any leaves for the working dogs of CSD? Will extra food be provided for dogs during New Year? If they fall ill, will the management provide any treatments by veterinary surgeons? The guard dogs of CSD are the working partners of dog handlers. They work and take leave together with their respective dog handlers. Therefore, the dogs and dog handlers are entitled to the same number of leaves. During festive seasons like Christmas or New Year, the Dog Unit will provide extra food, such as canned dog food, to the working dogs for celebration. Apart from performing duties outside or training, the dogs will go out with dog handlers for a walk every day. If the dogs fall ill, dog handlers will arrange for them to receive treatment by veterinary surgeons of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department. Besides, all the dogs have to receive body examination and vaccination every year to ensure their body and health are fit for work.
Currently, for those employers who are willing to employ rehabilitated persons, how do they select employees? CSD arranges for PICs to attend market-oriented vocational training programmes and skills training for industrial work to enhance their employability and better prepare for re-integration into society. Regarding the employment of rehabilitated persons, CSD offers 'Employment Services' which aims to provide an interactive job-matching platform. Besides, the department will, as far as possible, arrange job interviews in person/by video-conference/by tele-conference at the request of employers to facilitate the selection of suitable rehabilitated persons. According to our experience, once the rehabilitated persons are determined to start anew and work with positive attitude, the employers are very willing to offer job opportunities to rehabilitated persons, enabling them to realise their potential and contribute to the society.
Can we adopt the working dogs? What are the procedures? To allow the Dog Unit’s working dogs, who have reached the retirement age or have been certified as unfit for work on medical grounds by veterinary surgeons, to spend their remaining days in comfort, the Dog Adoption Programme of CSD provides a channel for members of the public to adopt the relevant working dogs. Interested parties can submit their application forms to Correctional Services Dog Unit. Arrangements will be made with the applicants to conduct interviews or home visits by the Selection Board of the Programme so as to decide whether the applicants are suitable for adoption. The application form and notes can be downloaded at our webpage.
After PICs are released, will the management return their personal belongings submitted decades ago to them? Are there any items that the management will not keep in custody for PICs? When PICs are admitted into correctional institutions, their personal belongings shall be placed in the custody of institutions, including their clothing and properties. However, items which pose safety and security risks to the institutions will not be kept in the custody of institutions, such as dangerous goods, corrosive goods, perishable goods, tobacco or too bulky properties. If the above items are involved, institutions will require PICs to pass these items to relatives or friends upon visits. All clothing and properties placed in custody of the institutions will be returned to PICs after release, regardless of length of sentence.
If the child of a female PIC is received into prison together, what can the child play? Are there any toys for them? Can family members outside bring the child out for a vacation? According to the laws of Hong Kong, the child of a female PIC may be received into prison with his/her mother until the mother has completed her sentence or such child has attained the age of 3 years, whichever is the earlier. To allow the mother to be fully engaged in taking care of her child, she does not need to work during this period. Therefore, the mother can accompany by the child’s side in his/her everyday life. Apart from receiving approved toys and books for the child from relatives or friends upon visits, there are toys and books provided by the correctional institutions in parent-child centres of the institutions and their bedrooms. Currently, there is no arrangement for children in correctional institutions to have vacation outside.
After PICs have left the drug addiction treatment centres, will CSD follow up their cases and assist them to stay away from drugs? According to the Drug Addiction Treatment Centres (DATC) Ordinance (Cap 244), CSD has to provide 2 to 12 months’ drug addiction treatment for PICs in DATC, as well as 12 months’ post release supervision. During the supervision period, supervising officers will provide assistance to PICs regarding their adaptation to society, family relationship and employment issues after leaving DATC. They also supervise and urge them to abide by the law and comply with requirements of supervision orders, help them reintegrate into society, and stay away from drugs. In recent years, CSD has proactively implemented various measures such as enhancing the Pre-release Re-integration Orientation Course, strengthening counselling services, and organising enhanced anti-drug groups for recalled supervisees at DATC, so as to reinforce their determination to stay away from drugs. Moreover, the Department has stepped up spot check and surveillance of drug testing procedures of supervisees.
It is said that some PICs are under supervision after release, what are the details of such supervision? To ensure continued support and guidance, statutory supervision is provided for rehabilitated persons from training, rehabilitation, detention, and drug addiction treatment centres, discharged young PICs and PICs released under the “Release Under Supervision”. “Pre-Release Employment”, “Post-Release Supervision”, “Conditional Release” and “Supervision After Release” Schemes. The rehabilitation staff members on supervision duties, with the support of PICs’ families, establish sound rapport with the PICs and help them lead a law abiding and industrious life after release as well as prepare for the challenges and demands to be expected on their return to the community. Continuous contact is maintained with every PIC in the penal institutions, and close supervision continues after release through regular visits made to the discharged PICs’ home or workplace.
Who are eligible to take up residence in halfway houses of CSD? What are the arrangements in halfway houses? The halfway house programme is an extension of the rehabilitative programmes carried out within the detention, training, drug addiction treatment centres and prisons. Needy supervisees, such as those with accommodation problems or requiring close monitoring upon discharge, will be arranged to take up residence in appropriate halfway houses, which include Bauhinia House, Pelican House and Phoenix House. The residents go out to work or study during daytime and return at night. The programme seeks to cultivate a sense of self-discipline and positive work habit within a structured and supportive environment. The period of residence depends on individual needs and progress. Leave of absence is generally granted on weekends and holidays to them to visit family members or friends for social reintegration. Visits by family members and friends are also encouraged so as to foster and strengthen support conducive to their rehabilitation.
Upon the release of PICs, will CSD continue to help PICs reintegrate into society? It is said that a “Positive Energy Map” programme has been launched, what is this programme? CSD provides statutory supervision to released PICs in accordance with relevant ordinances to ensure continued support and guidance. Besides, to further assist rehabilitated persons in reintegrating into society, a “Positive Energy Map” programme was launched at the end of 2015 with an aim to utilise community services and resources to help rehabilitated persons stay away from undesirable peers and lead a healthy life. With past experiences in collaborating with different non-government organisations, CSD formulates a social resources blueprint categorised by districts and activities/services to disseminate information to rehabilitated persons on various activities of each district, including cultural and recreational activities and training for personal development provided by non-government organisations to rehabilitated persons so as to involve them in meaningful activities apart from working and studying.
Are there prisons not providing pedestal toilets? Will this cause inconvenience to mobility-handicapped PICs? To take care of mobility-handicapped PICs, CSD has put in place various measures to cater for their needs. Apart from pedestal toilets, institutions will also provide suitable ancillary tools like crutches and wheelchairs to PICs when necessary.
Do PICs form cliques and gangs as depicted in movies? Do they always fight against each other? How does the management handle their fights? Prisons are places where discipline is highly emphasised. Any indiscipline acts by PICs are not tolerated by the institutions. Staff of the institutions manage PICs according to the power vested by law. If any indiscipline acts such as fighting or assaulting other person are found, the staff will charge PICs concerned with relevant disciplinary offences. As for cases of a serious nature, the institution will transfer them to other law enforcement agencies for follow up action.
Is there a minimum wage for PICs who work in the institutions? CSD arranges PICs to work in accordance with the law. As CSD does not have an employer-employee relationship with PICs and all basic necessities of PICs, including food, clothing, sanitary products and even medical services, are provided by the Government, “minimum salary” is therefore not applicable to them. At present, the earnings for PICs are incentive payments to encourage and motivate PICs to work. PICs can save their earnings or spend them on purchase of canteen items (such as snacks and additional daily necessities). The rates of earnings will be reviewed once a year in accordance with the established mechanism.
Which prisons do young PICs serve sentence in? What are the differences between these prisons and other prisons? Do they also need to work? What are the schedules of their daily lives? Young PICs are remanded in various institutions for young PICs under CSD according to the judgement of the court. Institutions for young male PICs include Pik Uk Correctional Institution, Sha Tsui Correctional Institution, Cape Collinson Correctional Institution, while institutions for young female PICs include Lai King Correctional Institution and Chi Lan Rehabilitation Centre. According to the law, CSD has established various corrective treatment programmes in institutions for young PICs, such as Drug Addiction Treatment Centres, Training Centres, Rehabilitation Centres and Detention Centre, to provide appropriate rehabilitation programmes. Given different corrective treatment programmes in various institutions for young PICs, there shall be differences among the regular daily routines in these institutions. Please visit our website for more details of institutions for young PICs under CSD.
Are there any doors at the toilets for PICs in prisons? Are the toilets in prisons flush toilets or squat toilets? For security reasons, the toilets for PICs generally cannot be kept under lock. Correctional institutions provide both flush toilets and squat toilets for PICs based on their needs.
Under what circumstances can PICs apply to the institutional management for special visits? The law stipulates that convicted PICs may receive 2 social visits from their relatives and friends each month, during which the visits will be limited to 30 minutes on each occasion and no more than 3 persons will be allowed at one time, while remanded PICs may receive 1 social visit from their relatives and friends each day, during which the visit will be limited to 15 minutes and no more than 2 persons will be allowed at one time. Besides, to encourage young PICs to maintain and improve relationships with family members and facilitate their rehabilitation via social visits, the Department allows them to receive 2 extra visits without applying for prior permission. If adult PICs want to receive extra visits, they may apply to the institutions for special visits. The main purpose of special visits is to facilitate PICs’ rehabilitation and improve their relationships with family members. Therefore, institutions will generally approve the applications of adult PICs for 2 extra visits by their immediate family members.
How does institutional management arrange transgender PICs or PICs of different sexual orientation to serve their sentences? How to classify them to be in male or female prisons? According to Section 8 of the Prisons Ordinance (Cap. 234), CSD separates male and female PICs. In general, the Department arranges PICs of the same gender to be imprisoned together according to their gender on identity documents. As for transgender PICs, CSD arranges medical officers, clinical psychologists or psychiatrists to confirm their physical conditions and sexual orientation and arrange suitable custodial environment for transgender PICs based on their professional advice.
Can PICs receive Chinese medicine services? CSD strives to provide a secure, safe, humane, decent and healthy custodial environment for PICs, and ensures that appropriate medical services are provided to all PICs in accordance with the Prison Rules (Cap. 234A). Every correctional institution has medical facilities where 24-hour basic medical services are provided by Medical Officers from Department of Health (DH) and correctional officers with nursing qualifications. If necessary, PICs will be referred by resident Medical Officers to public hospitals for further treatment. Moreover, medical specialists from the Hospital Authority (HA) and DH visit the relevant CSD’s institutions on a regular basis to provide consultation and treatment to PICs. Currently, Chinese medicine services are not part of the regular services of HA and DH. Medical Officers of correctional institutions will not refer PICs to receive private medical services, including Chinese medicine services. The Government is now conducting a study with the HA on the positioning of Chinese medicine in the local healthcare system. CSD will keep abreast of the latest development about the concerned study report and take appropriate follow-up actions.
What are “Earliest Date of Discharge” (EDD) and “Latest Date of Discharge” (LDD)? “DD” is the jargon commonly used by PICs, which refers to “terms of imprisonment”. In general, “LDD” refers to the term of imprisonment of PICs sentenced by the court, while PICs do not usually have to serve the full sentence before release. According to the law, PICs can be granted remission of sentence on the ground of their industry and good conduct. The remission granted is one-third of the total term sentenced by the court. Therefore, the term of imprisonment of PICs sentenced by the court is called “LDD”. On the other hand, “EDD” generally refers to the actual length of custody. Its calculation is that the term of imprisonment sentenced by the court minus the remission of sentence granted under the law and then minus any period spent in custody before conviction.
As prison facilities require maintenance, will the maintenance works be outsourced? Are there any relevant maintenance works which PICs are responsible for? Regular inspections and repairs are necessary for all structures to ensure the safety of users. In general, more complicated maintenance works which require social skills, such as replacement or repairs of plumbing or pipes and works related to the security system of institutions, will be referred to Architectural Services Department or Electrical and Mechanical Services Department. Some minor maintenance works, such as repairing works of external walls of dormitories and clearance of blocked sewers, will be completed by PICs under the supervision of CSD staff. CSD staff will be there to supervise the whole process of both outsourced works and works undertaken by PICs to ensure the security and smooth operation of institutions.
What is the forfeiture of remission? Why can CSD increase the term of imprisonment of PICs? The forfeiture of remission means reducing the remission of sentences granted to PICs. According to the laws of Hong Kong, all PICs serving sentences of imprisonment for an actual term of more than 1 month may be automatically granted remission on the ground of their good conduct, but the concerned remission shall not exceed one-third of the total of the actual term and any period spent in custody, and the actual term shall not be reduced to less than 31 days. If a PIC breaches any institutional discipline requirement, the superintendent of the institution may make punishments in accordance with the law, including cancelling the remission of sentences of PICs, which in turn increase the sentences of imprisonment of PICs, so this is generally called “forfeiture of remission” among PICs.
If a PIC has no money or relatives or friends when he/she is jailed, how will CSD help the PIC when he/she has nothing left upon release? According to Rule 39 of the Prison Rules (Cap. 234A), PICs who work in prison may receive payment in accordance with the rates approved by the Commissioner of Correctional Services. The main purpose of earnings for PICs is to provide incentive to help them develop good working habits and acquire work skills via useful work in order to facilitate their reintegration into society upon release. PICs may use at most 90% of their earnings to buy approved canteen items or for other approved purposes, while the remaining at least 10% earnings shall be kept as savings until the mandatory savings accumulated up to $500. PICs may withdraw the saved earnings upon release to meet their needs. Besides, the staff of Rehabilitation Unit will make relevant referrals if PICs need to seek assistance from the Social Welfare Department or non-government organistions.
How will the management arrange if a PIC serving sentence has physical problems and requires a wheelchair or walking stick to assist him/her in daily life? Basic medical care services are provided to PICs in each correctional institution. Medical Officers from Department of Health and correctional officers with nursing qualifications will provide appropriate treatments or referrals to all PICs. If PICs require wheelchairs or walking sticks to assist them in their daily lives, the institutions will provide them with suitable ancillary tools in accordance with the recommendations of Medical Officers.
Are the beds in prisons made of wood or plastic? How much space for each PIC to place his/her personal belongings? Are there any restrictions on the quantities of letters and photographs kept? There are two types of beds provided to PICs, which are single tier beds made of fiberglass and double tier beds with metallic bed frames (bunk beds) respectively. For cleaning purpose, lockers or plastic boxes are provided in workshops, cells or dormitories of correctional institutions for PICs to keep their personal belongings. PICs are not allowed to place their personal belongings casually. For the quantities of letters and photographs to be kept by a PIC, it is stipulated that each PIC can keep a maximum of 72 photographs in his/her cell while there is no restriction on the number of letters although institutional management does not encourage PICs to keep too many letters. PICs can pass the excess photographs over the limit or excess letters to their relatives or friends upon visits for their custody. They can also place the photographs and letters under the temporary custody of the institution and take them back upon release.
Are sex offenders be imposed separate confinement? PICs will not be imposed separate confinement due to the offences they have committed. According to the law, PICs will only be imposed separate confinement under the following conditions: 1. If a PIC is reported to have breached the discipline, he/she will be imposed segregation from other PICs when awaiting the decision; 2. The Superintendent may, in accordance with the law, impose separate confinement on PICs who breached the discipline; 3. The Superintendent may order a separate confinement on PICs in order to maintain the good order and discipline of institutions; and 4. PICs may take the initiative to request protection from institutional management to be removed from association with other PICs to prevent from being hurt by other PICs. Therefore, sex offenders will not be imposed separate confinement due to the offences they have committed.
Are prisons classified into different levels? What is the difference among prisons at different levels? Can they be differentiated by appearance? Except half-way houses and custodial wards, correctional facilities under CSD are classified by different security levels, namely maximum, medium and minimum levels. Different categories of PICs are detained in institutions of different security levels. For example, Category A PICs can be detained in maximum security prisons only. Institutions of different security levels certainly have different security facilities. Although fences are installed in maximum, medium and minimum security facilities, the design and requirements of the fences are different. Apart from fences, perimeter walls and towers are installed in maximum security prisons. Therefore, correctional facilities of different security levels can be basically differentiated by appearance.
PICs can participate in certificate presentation ceremonies. Are these ceremonies held in every prison? What are the formats of the ceremonies? Who can participate in these ceremonies? CSD will consider factors like the operation of individual institutions, number of PICs attending examinations, examination results and PICs’ remaining sentence before release in holding certificate presentation ceremonies. The ceremonies aim at recognising PICs’ efforts made in their pursuit of academic training over the past year. PICs who have attended various distance learning courses and public examinations and have been awarded certificates will be invited to certificate presentation ceremonies. At the ceremony, the officiating guest of honour will present academic certificates to the relevant PICs. The institutions will also arrange them to share details about their journey towards rehabilitation, show repentance and express to their families their determination to start anew. Besides, PICs will stage fascinating performances to express their gratitude to their families, correctional officers and representatives from non-governmental and community organisations and community leaders in support of their rehabilitation, and share with them the joy of PICs.
How many prisons are there in Hong Kong? How are they distributed? Which of them are for male PICs, and which are for female PICs? At present, there is a total of 28 correctional facilities including prisons, correctional institutions, rehabilitation centres, addiction treatment centres, custodial wards and half-way houses distributed in Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, New Territories, Lautau Island and Hei Ling Chau. If classified by gender of PICs, institutions for detention of female PICs are Lo Wu Correctional Institution, Tai Lam Centre for Women, Lai King Correctional Institution, Nei Kwu Correctional Institution, Wai Lan Rehabilitation Centre, Chi Lan Rehabilitation Centre and Bauhinia House while institutions for male PICs are Cape Collinson Correctional Institution, Hei Ling Chau Addiction Treatment Centre, Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre, Lai Chi Rehabilitation Centre, Lai Hang Rehabilitation Centre, Lai Sun Correctional Institution, Pak Sha Wan Correctional Institution, Pelican House, Phoenix House, Pik Uk Correctional Institution, Queen Mary Hospital Custodial Ward, Sha Tsui Correctional Institution, Shek Pik Prison, Stanley Prison, Tai Lam Correctional Institution, Tong Fuk Correctional Institution and Tung Tau Correctional Institution. Queen Elizabeth Hospital Custodial Ward and Siu Lam Psychiatric Centre are correctional facilities where male and female PICs are detained in separate localities.
It is said that some Hong Kong citizens who are imprisoned in other countries can transfer back to Hong Kong after a period of time to serve their remaining sentences, what are the justifications for allowing them to come back to Hong Kong? According to law, Hong Kong residents serving sentences overseas can apply for transfer back to Hong Kong to serve the remaining sentences. In general, each application has to satisfy the following main conditions: (i) the act, on which the sentence has been imposed, would also constitute a criminal offence according to the laws of Hong Kong if it had been committed in Hong Kong; (ii) the sentenced person is a permanent resident of Hong Kong; (iii) the judgement is final and no further proceedings relating to the offence or any other offences are pending in the jurisdiction; (iv) there is a tripartite consent to the transfer given by the concerned governments and the sentenced person.
Is there hot water for shower in prisons? Is hot water provided in winter only? Or is it provided when the temperature is below a particular degree? Is there any limit on the number of times of taking shower for PICs? Do they take shower in the morning or at night? Are the staff present when they are taking shower? All institutions of CSD have installed water heaters. Hot water of appropriate temperature will be provided to PICs for shower according to seasonal changes and air temperature. Each PIC is arranged to take shower daily and the shower time depends on the daily schedule of the institution. To ensure the safety of PICs and to maintain the discipline of institutions, correctional officers are present when they are taking shower.
How to handle the everyday clothing and underwear of PICs? Are all the clothing washed together? How to ensure the hygiene? To ensure all the clothing of PICs are handled timely and properly, the clothing of PICs are washed in the laundry workshops of institutions according to the washing schedule fixed by institutions. In accordance with the guideline of the Centre for Health Protection, the washing of patients’ clothing and kitchen staff’s working clothes of centre hospitals must be separated from other PICs’ clothing, while other clothing are washed together. To maintain the hygiene, PICs working in the laundry workshop of each institution are supervised by an instructor. Besides, all the apparatuses and areas for handling dirty clothing must be cleaned with 1 in 99 diluted bleach.
Why do sex offenders commit sex offences? CSD provides PICs who are sex offenders with psychological assessment and treatment programmes. PICs who are sex offenders have different backgrounds. Most of them easily feel lonely or have other emotional problems. Some of them are rather introverted who cannot get along well with other people, have smaller social circles, feel difficult to share thoughts with others and generally have no interests or hobbies. A few of them even have abnormal sexual proclivity such as paedophilia or peeping. In face of various social problems and emotional disturbance, they tend to use incorrect means to make themselves feel better or satisfy the intimacy that they lack, such as frequently browsing erotic contents, getting indulged in social networking mobile applications and casual sex. They would like to relieve stress through sexual excitement and stimulation which they think can soothe their emotions, but consequently they fall deeper into the trap and become unable to extricate themselves and commit illegal sexual assaults. CSD understands the worries of the public about the threats posed by sexual offences to society, especially that many victims are children or teenagers. Therefore, as early as 20 years ago, the Department established the first residential treatment unit of this kind in East Asia to provide participants with comprehensive and systematic psychological assessment and treatment programmes. Clinical psychologists of CSD will assess their re-offending risk and treatment needs based on scientific evidence with reference to overseas and local research findings over the years in order to provide them with appropriate psychological treatments, aiming at achieving the goal of less victims and more law-abiding citizens in our society.
Are all letters to and from PICs only be sent after being read by CSD staff? To encourage PICs to communicate with outside people, they are allowed to send and receive any number of letters. However, for security reasons, all inward and outward letters to and from PICs may be opened and searched for security check by institutional staff to ensure that there are no items inside the letters which pose any threat to any individual's personal safety or the security, good order and discipline of the institution. According to the law, in a maximum security institution, the letters will be opened and searched and may also be read for checking. In other institutions of lower security levels, if the institutional management has reasonable doubts, inward and outward letters to and from PICs may also be read.
How should newly admitted PICs get adapted to and familiarised with the prison rules? All newly admitted PICs will be arranged to undergo an induction programme during which the staff from different sections of the institution will brief them on information about daily lives, including PICs’ treatments, routine procedures, facilities, discipline, ways of seeking assistance and channels of complaints. In addition, the institution will give them a booklet called “Information for Person in Custody”. This booklet not only introduces the procedures to be completed by newly admitted PICs, but also explains the matters to note in custodial life. The information booklet has been translated into 27 languages to cater for the needs of PICs of different nationalities. If PICs have any queries or problems about their daily lives in correctional institutions, they may enquire our on-duty staff. Our staff will explain to them or refer them to other sections for further assistance.
There are more and more foreign PICs and some of whom may not understand English. What measures are in place to assist correctional officers to communicate with foreign PICs? With a view to further facilitating communication between correctional officers and foreign PICs, CSD has introduced tablet computers with the capabilities to translate multiple languages (currently 62 languages) since 2015. In addition, CSD provides correctional officers with foreign language courses of six languages, including Nepalese, Urdu, Punjabi, Vietnamese, Indonesian and Spanish, to facilitate their communication with foreign PICs. If foreign PICs encounter communication problems, CSD may arrange correctional officers or other PICs speaking the relevant foreign languages or of the same nationalities to offer assistance, or seek the help of Language Centres and Interpretation Hotline operated by NGOs. If there is still any problem, CSD may contact government official translators or relevant consulates to assist with the communication. Also, CSD provides Cantonese language classes and self-learning kits for foreign PICs to enhance their ability to speak and understand Cantonese.
Are all areas of correctional institutions without air conditioning? Are there any fans in areas where PICs sleep at night? Are there any measures to prevent heat stroke of PICs? Most areas in correctional institutions are not air-conditioned, while some of the workshops such as printing workshops are installed with air conditioners for the operation of machines which require a lower temperature. CSD shall ensure that the ventilation of all the cells is adequate for health in accordance with the law. Currently, the ventilation of all the cells are in compliance with the standard of Buildings Department on Habitable Room (natural means), which is 1.5 Air Change per Hour (ACH), and CSD has installed fans in the surroundings of the cells to enhance ventilation. CSD shall pay close attention to the ventilation of the cells in correctional institutions and adopt any feasible measures in co-operation with Architectural Services Department and Electrical and Mechanical Services Department to improve ventilation. To prevent heat stroke, PICs are provided with adequate drinking water to replenish the water loss in correctional institutions. Correctional officers regularly check the heat stress index under hot weather to decide whether to continue with the outdoor work or sports activities of PICs. Heads of institutions also regularly review the vigorous exercises conducted during hot and humid seasons to ensure appropriate measures are adopted by institutional staff to help PICs prevent heat stroke.
If a PIC is diagnosed with impairment of intelligence, autism or hyperactivity disorder, and has difficulties in adaptation to some orders and disciplines, will he/she be subject to punishments? How does CSD handle such situations? CSD has been paying close attention to PICs’ health and needs. For PICs diagnosed with impairment of intelligence, autism or hyperactivity disorder, resident Medical Officers and Clinical Psychologists will assess their situation and provide health care for them to facilitate their adaptation to custodial lives. Correctional institutions will assign dedicated staff to take care of PICs with special needs. Relevant staff members will conduct regular meetings with these PICs to understand the problems or difficulties they encounter in order to offer suitable assistance. In addition, all PICs newly admitted into correctional institutions will be arranged to undergo an induction programme and given a booklet called “Information for Person in Custody” to facilitate their adaptation to custodial lives and enhance their understanding of the system and discipline in correctional institutions. If they still have difficulties in adaptation or even conduct indiscipline acts, CSD will lay a disciplinary charge against them impartially after resident Medical Officers have proven that the health conditions of PICs are suitable to attend the disciplinary hearing.
What measures does CSD adopt to prevent PICs from committing self-harm or suicide? CSD will adopt all possible solutions to prevent PICs from committing self-harm or suicidal behaviours. For instance, correctional officers will arrange newly admitted PICs to attend induction talks, during which their attention will be brought to the general points to note in the institutions. The Department will also arrange staff members to provide counselling to them helping them adapt to the life in the institutions as soon as possible. Besides, institutional officers will use the Self-harm Risk Index and observe signs of PICs to identify PICs’ self-harm risks. If PICs are assessed to have higher self-harm risk, they will be placed on the Medical Observation List. Correctional officers will pay special attention to this type of PICs to make corresponding arrangements. CSD also starts to improve the facilities in institutions so as to reduce PICs’ possibilities of self-harm or suicide. For example, toilets, mirrors and washing basins are made with non-fragile materials. For facilities such as fire service sprinklers, they will be designed in a way such that PICs will find it difficult to use those as anchor points to hang themselves. Besides, CSD is replacing old-style locks by electric locks for inmate cells by phase. That is to reduce the time spent on unlocking the cells and to facilitate a speedier rescue. During the training in Staff Training Institute, new recruits will receive training on procedures of handling self-harm or suicide cases by PICs. As for in-service training, clinical psychologists will periodically teach the officers the latest knowledge of preventing suicide and self-harm.
How to determine the prison where a PIC should serve his sentence? Under what circumstances will PICs be transferred to another prison? The Classification and Categorisation Board of CSD decides on the correctional institutions where PICs should serve their sentence. When PICs on remand are convicted by court, the Classification and Categorisation Board of an institution will interview the convicted PICs, classifies and categorises them according to the nature of offence, age, the term of sentence and security category, etc. of the PICs. The Board will determine the types of institution where individual PICs will serve their sentence according to the conditions of admission of different institutions. In considering if a PIC should be transferred to another institution, CSD will make decision according to a series of factors such as the operation of the institution, security and the physical and mental condition of the PIC.
What special arrangements will be made if a female PIC is pregnant while serving sentence in prison? What arrangements will be made following the birth of the infant, for example the supply of milk powder and diapers? Are there any specific brands? Is the mother allowed to breastfeed her infant? Generally speaking, when female PICs are pregnant with 30 weeks’ gestation, they will be taken to the centre hospital to ensure that they can receive immediate medical treatment from resident Medical Officers and correctional officers with nursing qualifications if the needs arise. Besides, the institution will arrange the pregnant PICs to undergo antenatal checkups in public hospitals on a regular basis. If they have special needs, they can make a request with the duty staff who will refer their cases to the centre hospital and make appropriate arrangements according to the recommendations of Medical Officers. For example, if the Medical Officer opines that the pregnant woman needs to take additional nutrients, the institution will include additional food into her daily diet. According to the legislation, the child of a female PIC may be received into prison with its mother until the mother has completed her sentence or such child has attained the age of 3 years, whichever is the earlier. PICs’ children who stay in prisons will be provided with milk powder which is of unspecified brands and purchased according to the established procedures of the government. Mothers are allowed to breastfeed their infants. As for diapers, apart from the approved diapers brought to mothers in custody by relatives and friends, they can also accept those sent in by staff of non-governmental organisations. To sum up, the institution will arrange adequate disposable diapers for children of PICs.
Under what circumstances will a PIC be put in “Shui Fan Fong (水飯房)”? What are the differences between the life in Shui Fan Fong and that of PICs in general? What are the differences on their welfare? Special Unit, the so-called “Shui Fan Fong”, is a facility used for separate confinement of PICs in a correctional institution. For the name “Shui Fan Fong”, the public may be misled into believing that a PIC in the Special Unit is only provided with three meals of plain water and rice. Actually, this arrangement had been abolished several decades ago. Meals in the Special Unit are not different from those provided to other PICs. According to legislations, CSD imposes separate confinement on individual PICs or removal from association with other PICs based on different reasons and managerial needs. Those reasons include the imposing of separate confinement as punishment due to indiscipline acts, or the PIC takes the initiative to request for protection because of individual conditions such as the special criminal background of the PIC, or the PIC affects the discipline and order of the institution so that it is necessary to remove from association with other PICs. PICs serving sentence in the Special Unit will not lose their privileges automatically unless the PIC is imposed separate confinement and loss of privileges at the same time due to indiscipline acts.
Are there different designs of clothing for PICs? There are various categories of PICs under the custody of CSD, including adult PICs and young PICs, male PICs and female PICs, convicted PICs and remanded PICs. To facilitate the management of various categories of PICs, CSD will provide them with different clothing for identification. Moreover, to maintain the health of PICs, CSD provides PICs with different summer and winter clothing. The clothing for patients, pregnant women and PICs on exercise is different from the clothing for PICs at the usual time. Members of the public have the chance to see different styles of clothing for PICs in TV programmes or movies.
What are the reception procedures for PICs in general? All newly-admitted PICs will undergo a series of reception procedures when they are admitted into institutions. The procedures include searching, verification of court warrants and taking of fingerprints, etc. Moreover, they have to hand in their personal belongings which will be kept by the institution temporarily. Then, the staff of different sections will interview them to understand their needs. The staff will then arrange them to go to the centre hospital for examination by the Medical Officer to assess their physical and mental health. Upon completion of the above procedures, the institutional staff will arrange the PICs to join the Induction Programme. Meanwhile, the staff of different sections will explain to them the points to note in respect of their life in correctional institutions, including daily life, exercising, work and discipline, etc. If PICs have any queries, they can raise questions immediately and the staff will answer their enquiries accordingly.
If the spectacles worn by PICs are not up to the standard, do they need replacement? What are the specifications for spectacles in prisons? What are the procedures for prescription of spectacles? Spectacles worn by PICs must be made of plastic, including the frames and lens. If the spectacles worn by a PIC are prescribed with metal frames or glass lens, the institution will ask them to prescribe another pair of spectacles conforming with the specifications, and the original spectacles will be kept under the custody of the institution or their relatives and friends. If a PIC needs to prescribe spectacles during his/her custody, he/she can apply to the institution and then the visiting eye doctor will conduct the vision test. Once confirmed by the eye doctor that they have actual needs to wear spectacles, PICs may apply to the institution for receiving spectacles during visits by relatives and friends. If there is no visit from relatives and friends, PICs may apply to the staff of the Rehabilitation Unit for prescription of spectacles for them in the market.