Referring to a report on suicide cases by persons in custody in a newspaper today (October 17) that Correctional Services Department (CSD) had not adopted the recommendation by a Coroner's Court to install new cell windows without bars, a spokesman for the department has the following response:
"Contrary to the report of the newspaper, the Coroner's Court has not made any recommendation on the installation of new cell windows. The research and trial on the new cell windows has been initiated by CSD with a view to minimising any anchorage point inside the cell for hanging by persons in custody. The new cell window had been installed by CSD in some cells at Stanley Prison for trial since last year. The trial however showed that the new windows affected air ventilation in the cells and hence the result was not satisfactory. The department will therefore continue to actively explore other practicable measures with a view to finding the best solution.
We deeply regret the death of the two persons in custody who hung themselves recently. The department had informed the Police and also commissioned a board of enquiry to follow up the incidents on the day when they took place. In accordance with the law, an inquest will be held by the Coroner's Court later.
On October 12, a person in custody of Pak Sha Wan Correctional Institution was found hanging in the dormitory toilet using a bed sheet tied to the toilet door hinge; yesterday, a person in custody of Stanley Prison was found hanging from a bed sheet tied to a window bar inside his cell.
For more than two years no person in custody had died as a result of attempting suicide. During the period there have been 194 cases of self-harm by persons in custody, of which 34 cases were hanging. Except the two recent fatal cases, Correctional staff had promptly spotted and stopped suicidal attempts by persons in custody and saved their lives in all other cases. We will review the relevant measures from time to time with a view to minimising incidents of hanging and self-harm by persons in custody."
Ends/Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Issued at HKT 21:09