chapter  17
Prison and correctional services
ByT. WING LO
Pages 25

Custodial sentences are operated by the Correctional Services Department (CSD), formerly the Prisons Department before 1982, which is responsible for the secure, safe and humane custody of all persons detained under the Immigration Ordinance (Cap. 115), and persons convicted of a crime and sentenced by the court under the Criminal Procedure Ordinance (Cap. 221), Prisons Ordinance (Cap. 234), Detention Centres Ordinance (Cap. 239), Drug Addiction Treatment Centres Ordinance (Cap. 244), Rehabilitation Centres Ordinance (Cap. 567), and Training Centres Ordinance (Cap. 280). The vision of the CSD is to become an internationally acclaimed correctional service, upholding five core values: integrity, professionalism, humanity, discipline and perseverance (Hong Kong Correctional Services, 2014). While the CSD provides multi-level intervention to correct offenders, its major duties during daily operations are summarised in two main categories: prison management and rehabilitation of offenders. Radzinowicz and Hood (1990) remarked that the modern prison has emerged

as its functions changed from being primarily custodial-coercive to punitive, and offenders are now sent to prison ‘as a punishment, not for punishment’ (Ruck, 1951: 23). As such, the loss of personal freedom due to incarceration is already a punishment, and the conditions inside prisons should be as humane and rehabilitative as possible to maintain the dignity of individual prisoners. Inside correctional institutions, the CSD provides prisoners with basic necessities, comprehensive medical services and a decent and healthy living environment. Prisoners are allowed to spend time out of their cells for a significant proportion of the time. The CSD maintains order and control to minimise the chance of escapes and acts of indiscipline, and its programmes emphasise selfcontrol and discipline. It was reported that 3,592 cases of violation of prison discipline occurred in 2014, 10% more than in 2013 (Hong Kong Correctional Services, 2014), but there had been ‘no escapes for seven years’ (Asia and Pacific Conference of Correctional Administrators (APCCA) 2014: 14). In 2013, X-ray

body scanners were introduced to replace manual rectal searching, resulting in ‘a decrease in the number of seizures of dangerous drugs from 158 in 2012 to 95 in 2013’ (APCCA, 2014: 14). In the domain of rehabilitation, the CSD provides prisoners with a range of

psychological and welfare services, and opportunities to engage in useful work. To correct their criminal behaviour, it provides education, vocational training, drug addiction treatment, community reintegration programmes, and aftercare and support services. Operating under a new correctional services integrated management model (CSIM), based on three core concepts – caring for people, caring for the environment, and caring for community – the CSD protects the public and helps reduce crime but simultaneously promotes community acceptance of, and support for, rehabilitated offenders through public education, publicity and community involvement. The CSIM emphasises ‘people orientation, operational efficiency, economy of scale, effective resources management, greening concepts, and community networking’ (APCCA, 2011: 21).