The Correctional Services Department (CSD) runs a comprehensive range of
services for adult and young offenders, drug addicts and offenders with psychiatric
problems. Its services fall broadly under two headings: prison management and
rehabilitation of offenders.
In 2006, the CSD managed 23 correctional institutions, three halfway houses,
four rehabilitation centres, two custodial wards in public hospitals and one
immigration centre on behalf of the Immigration Department. In all, 6 467 staff were
looking after a daily average of 11 535 inmates, 314 detainees and 2 875 persons
under supervision after discharge from custody.
Offenders sentenced to imprisonment are assigned to institutions according to
their gender, age and security rating. Security rating takes into account, among other
things, the risk the offenders pose to the community and whether they are first-time
offenders. Separate institutions are provided for males and females, and for adults
and young offenders. Male and female young offenders aged between 14 and
20 may be admitted to a training centre or a rehabilitation centre. A detention centre
programme is available for male offenders aged between 14 and 24. Drug addicts
found guilty of an offence punishable by imprisonment may be placed in a drug
addiction treatment centre. Offenders requiring psychiatric treatment are
accommodated in Siu Lam Psychiatric Centre.
Inmates receive proper care. Their diet follows approved scales of nutritional
values with regard to their health and religious requirements. All adult inmates,
unless certified physically unfit, are required by law to work six days a week. They are
assigned to different work posts according to factors such as their fitness and security
ratings, personal background and balance of sentence. They receive earnings for their
work, which may be used for buying approved personal items twice a month. They
can watch television and have access to newspapers and library books. They may
send and receive an unrestricted number of letters, receive regular visits and
participate in the religious services. Compulsory education and vocational
programmes are provided for inmates under 21 whereas adults may opt to take part
in the programmes available to them. Voluntary organisations provide a wide range
of rehabilitation services to inmates.
Prisoners released under the Pre-release Employment Scheme, offenders released
under supervision from training centres, detention centre, rehabilitation centres and
drug addiction treatment centres, and those having special needs may be
accommodated in halfway houses for varying lengths of time. Thereafter, they are
permitted to live at home or in other places while they continue to receive
The CSD manages 12 prisons for adult males, consisting of three maximum, four
medium and five minimum security institutions. Adult female prisoners are
accommodated in four prisons. For young male offenders, the department operates
one maximum security institution, two training centres and one detention centre. A
training centre section is provided in Tai Tam Gap Correctional Institution, a multi-function
institution for young females. Hei Ling Chau Addiction Treatment Centre
and its annex accommodate male and female drug addicts respectively. Siu Lam
Psychiatric Centre is a maximum security prison which houses separately male and
female prisoners of all categories — sentenced or on remand — and detainees who
require psychiatric observation, treatment or assessment. Five of the institutions cater
for remanded males and females of different age groups. Facilities in a penal
institution normally include dormitories, kitchens, dining rooms, laundries,
workshops, exercising and recreational areas, library and a hospital.
The CSD operates three halfway houses to help inmates released under
supervision to reintegrate into society. Group counselling sessions and other activities
are organised and the residents can go out to work or attend school during the
The penal population remained large in 2006, with inmates occupying an
average 2 per cent more living space than was officially available. The overcrowding
occurred mostly in prisons accommodating female adults. The average number of
women in prison in 2006 was 2 325 and they occupied 131 per cent of total prison
living space. Despite overcrowding which stretched CSD resources, the department
continued to implement its correctional programmes effectively.
During the year, 18 915 adult offenders, comprising 11 855 men and
7 060 women, were sentenced to prison and 6 458 men and 2 006 women on
remand were taken into custody. The number of young offenders sentenced to
imprisonment totalled 1 211, comprising 384 males and 827 females, and 691 young
people on remand — 519 males and 172 females — were taken into custody. In
addition, 704 young offenders — 639 males and 65 females — were sentenced to
detention in training centres, rehabilitation centres or the detention centre, and
1 398 offenders — 1 203 males and 195 females — were placed in drug addiction
treatment centres; while 3 340 offenders — 2 904 males and 436 females — were
remanded pending reports on their suitability for sentencing to one of these centres.
Young people aged between 14 and 20, who are convicted of an offence
punishable by imprisonment, may be remanded in custody for a period not exceeding
three weeks for assessment of their suitability for admission to a training centre,
rehabilitation centre, detention centre or drug addiction treatment centre. Young
men aged between 21 and 24 may be similarly remanded for admission to the
The CSD runs the Rehabilitation Unit (Assessment), which makes
recommendations to the courts on the suitability of offenders for detention at one of
the four types of inmate centres mentioned above. The assessment officers
investigate all cases referred by the courts, and prepare suitability reports for them. In
2006, a total of 4 633 suitability reports were prepared, and assessment officers
found 1 225 males and 172 females suitable for admission to a rehabilitation centre,
a training centre or detention centre, and 1 670 males and 248 females suitable for
a drug addiction treatment centre.
Young Offender Assessment Panel
The Young Offender Assessment Panel, comprising representatives from the CSD
and the Social Welfare Department, makes recommendations to magistrates and
judges on the most appropriate rehabilitation programmes for young male offenders
aged between 14 and 24 and females aged 14 to 20.
Training Centres, Detention Centre and Rehabilitation Centres
Training centres provide correctional training for young offenders for periods
ranging from a minimum of six months to a maximum of three years. These offenders
attend half-day educational classes and receive half-day vocational training. They also
receive character development training in the form of scouting or guiding, Outward
Bound training, and so on. On Sundays and public holidays, they are taken on visits
to youth centres, sports centres and country parks. Young offenders, about to be
discharged, are given the opportunity to help provide social services to the elderly
and, the mentally and physically handicapped. Upon release, inmates must have
suitable employment, education or vocational training and are subject to a statutory
period of supervision lasting three years.
The detention centre programme is carried out at Sha Tsui Detention Centre for
young male offenders aged between 14 and 20, and young male adults aged
between 21 and 24. It emphasises strict discipline, strenuous training, hard work and
a vigorous routine. The detention periods for young males and young adults are one
to six months and three to 12 months respectively. After release, detainees are
subject to a statutory supervision period of one year.
In operation since July 2002, the rehabilitation centres provide an additional
sentencing option for the courts to deal with young offenders aged between 14 and
20 who are in need of a short-term residential rehabilitation programme. The
programme is carried out in two phases with a detention period spanning three to
nine months. The first phase of the programme provides two to five months' training
in a correctional institution. The young offenders spend the second phase in an
institution with a halfway house setting for a period of one to four months. They may
go out for work, attend vocational training and educational courses, and participate
in community service programmes. Discharged young offenders are subject to a
statutory period of supervision of one year.
Inmates under 21 are required to attend educational classes conducted by
qualified teachers. They are encouraged to take part in both local and overseas public
examinations organised by the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority
and other local and overseas authorities. Young inmates may attend formal classes up
to certificate level and sit for the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination as
school candidates. Adult inmates may sit for the examination as private candidates.
Inmates may obtain accreditation through public examinations held by the City and
Guilds or the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
A Prisoners' Education Trust Fund, set up with charitable donations in 1995,
provides financial assistance to prisoners seeking an education, in the form of grants
to cover course or examination fees and cost of reference materials.
To help young offenders reintegrate smoothly into society as law-abiding
citizens, the department provides vocational training programmes for inmates under
21 years of age to enable them to acquire job skills, obtain accreditation and develop
work habits. The CSD offers various training courses that fit the inmates' learning
ability and needs. The vocational training courses are market-orientated to give the
inmates a better opportunity to find employment after they are discharged. There are
also courses to help inmates obtain the City and Guilds vocational qualifications, and
to prepare them for trade tests or examinations conducted by training authorities,
such as the Vocational Training Council, the Construction Industry Training Authority
and the Clothing Industry Training Authority.
For adult prisoners, the CSD also provides vocational courses to help them obtain
accredited skills by enrolling them in tests conducted by vocational training
organisations. In July 2006, a pre-release vocational training centre was set up to
enable male adult prisoners who will be discharged in 24 months to participate in
full-time vocational training on a voluntary basis. The centre is situated at Lai Sun
Correctional Institution and offers six months of comprehensive and in-depth
vocational training in a wide range of trades, such as mechanical craft, catering,
printing and desktop publishing.
Correctional Services Industries
The Correctional Services Industries (CSI) provide work for adult prisoners as
required by law. Apart from keeping the inmates gainfully occupied, CSI help them
develop good working habits and a sense of responsibility, build up self-confidence,
learn how to work as a team and acquire the basic skills for various trades.
In 2006, a daily average of about 6 717 prisoners were engaged in CSI, which
provides a wide range of goods and services for government departments and public
organisations. Products made by the inmates under the CSI programme include
furniture, uniforms, leather goods, hospital linen, protective filter mask, fibreglass
litter containers, traffic signs and precast concrete products such as paving blocks,
tactile slabs, cable covers and kerbs for highways and infrastructure projects.
Prisoners also provide laundry services for hospitals, clinics and the ambulance
depots, and they also bind books for public libraries, undertake printing work and
make file jackets and envelopes. Products and services provided by the CSI were
worth $444 million in 2006.
Prisoners Welfare Services
Programme Officers look after the welfare of detainees and prisoners, and help
them to deal with personal problems and difficulties arising from their detention or
imprisonment. Apart from conducting individual and group counselling sessions, the
officers help run various rehabilitation programmes and provide services such as
organising pre-release re-integration orientation courses, making arrangements for
the prisoners to meet their family members and supplying them with information on
Drug Addiction Treatment
The CSD runs a compulsory treatment programme for convicted drug addicts,
which provides the courts with an alternative to imprisonment. Male and female
inmates are accommodated at Hei Ling Chau Addiction Treatment Centre and its
annex respectively. Young addicts aged between 14 and 20 are accommodated
separately from the adults. An inmate undergoes in-centre treatment for a period of
between two and 12 months, followed by one year of statutory supervision. The
programme is based on therapeutic treatment, discipline, work programmes, outdoor
physical activities and comprehensive supervision services.
Hospitals are set up in every institution to provide inmates with basic medical
treatment, health care and dental services. Inmates who need specialist treatment are
either referred to visiting specialists or to specialist clinics in public hospitals. Women
prisoners who are pregnant are referred to public hospitals to deliver their babies and
for related services.
Siu Lam Psychiatric Centre treats prisoners with mental health problems and
offers psychiatric consultations and assessments for inmates on referral from other
institutions and the courts.
Psychological services are provided to inmates and prisoners to improve
their psychological well-being and to correct their offending behaviour. Clinical
psychologists and trained officers provide special treatment programmes for inmates
such as sex offenders, violent offenders, inmates with addiction problems and young
offenders. They also provide assessment reports to the courts, review boards and
institutional management to assist them in their decision-making. The CSD took steps
during the year to further improve the running of rehabilitative services provided for
offenders after they have been discharged. It has adopted an empirically based
protocol and clinical measures for assessing more accurately the risks of offenders
getting into trouble again and returning to prison after they have been discharged.
Statutory supervision is provided to discharged young prisoners, people
discharged from training, rehabilitation, detention and drug addiction treatment
centres, and prisoners discharged under the Release Under Supervision, Pre-release
Employment and Post-release Supervision Schemes, as well as prisoners discharged
under a conditional release order or post-release supervision order. The aim of
supervision services is to help ex-offenders reintegrate into society with as little stress
as possible. To help the ex-offenders better tackle the problems they might encounter
in the outside world, it is essential to establish a good rapport between them and
their families and their CSD supervisors. Any breach of the supervision conditions may
result in these ex-inmates being recalled for a further period of training, treatment or
Under the Release Under Supervision and Pre-release Employment Schemes,
successful applicants may be discharged directly from prison for supervision or
permitted to go out to work and live in a hostel with supervision services. Both
schemes aim at enabling suitable, eligible and motivated prisoners to serve their
sentences in an open environment while under supervision.
The Post-release Supervision Scheme provides supervision for certain categories
of adult prisoners to facilitate their rehabilitation and reintegration into society.
Prisoners with indeterminate sentences may, before the Long-term Prison Sentences
Review Board makes recommendations as to whether their indeterminate sentences
should be converted to determinate ones, be conditionally released under supervision
for a specific period to test their determination and ability to lead a law-abiding life.
Prisoners whose indeterminate sentences have been converted to determinate ones
may also be ordered by the board to be placed under post-release supervision.
In 2006, 2 664 offenders were discharged under supervision. They, together with
those discharged in previous years and who had yet to complete their supervision
period, added up to a total of 2 748 persons under the CSD's supervision at the end
of 2006. During the year, 1 036 persons were recalled for breach of supervision
Services Provided by Non-governmental Organisations
To channel community resources to support the work on rehabilitation of
offenders, the CSD has been working closely with over 60 non-government
organisations such as the Society of Rehabilitation and Crime Prevention, Hong Kong,
Buddha's Light International Association of Hong Kong, Caritas Lok Heep Club, Hong
Kong Christian Kun Sun Association, Christian Prison Pastoral Fellowship and Wu Oi
Christian Centre. These voluntary organisations have been actively involved in a
variety of services ranging from the provision of counselling services and religious
sacraments, to the organisation of cultural and recreational projects in correctional
Community acceptance and support is of paramount importance to the
rehabilitation of offenders and their reintegration into society. Comprising
representatives of non-governmental organisations, government departments and
professionals from various sectors of society, the Committee on Community Support
for Rehabilitated Offenders is a non-statutory advisory body appointed by the
Commissioner of Correctional Services to advise on rehabilitation programmes and
A series of publicity activities have been organised to appeal for public support
for rehabilitated offenders. The major activities in 2006 included joint community
activities organised with the 18 District Fight Crime Committees, the production of a
concert and its DVD displaying the musical talents of inmates, and the production
and broadcast of the fourth series of the TV documentary-drama The Road Back.
Information Technology and Management Services
Information technology is used extensively in the CSD to improve its efficiency in
institutional management, the Correctional Services Industries, rehabilitation services,
human resources management, staff training and general administration. Continuous
efforts are being made to enhance the quality and efficiency of prison management
and various services through the introduction of new technologies.
The Quality Assurance Division of the department initiates quality management
to improve operations by carrying out management studies, inspections and
evaluation of services as well as updating departmental practices to bring them in line
with the prevailing policy and the changing needs of the community.
Each penal institution is visited by Justices of the Peace fortnightly or monthly,
depending on the type of institutions. The Justices of the Peace receive and
investigate complaints from prisoners, inspect diets and examine living and working
The Complaints Investigation Unit is responsible for handling and investigating
complaints in relation to the department's work. All investigation reports are subject
to the scrutiny of the Correctional Services Department Complaints Committee.
Inmates may also lodge complaints with any senior officers or duty officers of the
CSD, or utilise other channels such as the visiting Justices of the Peace, The
Ombudsman and the Legislative Council for redress of grievances.