Hong Kong 2006
Chapter 16:
Public Order
Fight Crime Committee
Police Force
Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC)
Customs and Excise
Narcotics Division
Independent Commission Against Corruption
Government Laboratory
Immigration Department
Fire Services
Correctional Services
Commissioner on Interception of Communications and Surveillance
Civil Aid Service
Government Flying Service
Home Pages
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Table of Contents Constitution and Administration The Legal System The Economy Financial and Monetary Affairs Commerce and Industry Employment Education Health Food Safety, Environmental Hygiene, Agriculture and Fisheries Social Welfare Housing Land, Public Works and Utilities Transport The Environment Travel and Tourism Public Order Communications, the Media and Information Technology Religion and Custom Recreation, Sport and the Arts Population and Immigration History Appendices PRINT
Correctional Services

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 supervision.

Penal Institutions

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 daytime.

Penal Population

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.

Assessment Services

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 detention centre.

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.

Vocational Training

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 community resources.

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.

Medical 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

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.

Supervision Services

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 imprisonment.

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 conditions.

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 institutions.

Community Support

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 publicity strategies.

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.

Visiting Justices

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 conditions.


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.

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