GO BEYOND CUSTODY AND REHABILITATION TO PREVENT CRIME
Correctional Services Department

Exemplary Services@Gov
2017
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The Correctional Services Department (CSD), formerly known as the Prisons Department, has been evolving over the years. The overall objective of CSD has changed from merely performing custodial duties to placing dual emphasis on safe custody and rehabilitation. In that respect, it assumes the role of Society’s Guardian and Rehabilitation Facilitator.

CSD has been collaborating with community stakeholders in conducting appropriate rehabilitation programmes, encouraging the public to accept rehabilitated persons and facilitating their return to the community. In recent years, CSD has been vigorously promoting law observance and inclusion to youngsters through community education, which aims at preventing crime, starting with the root causes and helping rehabilitated persons to reintegrate into the community.

PREVENT CRIME BY “NIPPING IT IN THE BUD”

CSD has consolidated several community education activities and launched the “Rehabilitation Pioneer Project” (RPP) to effectively promote community education to students and other members of the society. After years of hard work, it made remarkable achievements in respect to rehabilitation. In 2014, the recidivism rate of young offenders was reduced to 12.6%. This was far below that of adult offenders, which stands 27.2%. However, the proportion of young people convicted of drug-related offences and sentenced to imprisonment was nearly double that of adults. In view of this, CSD formed a specific unit in early 2015 for collecting views from different stakeholders, including Fight Crime Committees, schools and Parent-Teacher Associations. The effort strengthened community education for young people through a more interactive and appealing approach, disseminating messages to them around leading a law-abiding and drug-free life, as well as supporting rehabilitation.

“THE REFLECTIVE PATH” INITIATIVE UTILISING CSD’S DISTINCTIVE RESOURCES

A new programme called "The Reflective Path" was introduced under the RPP in 2015. Utilising the Department’s distinctive resources, CSD turned the converted Ma Hang Prison into an experiential learning centre. Participants can meet persons in custody to learn about their experiences and insights. The programme not only gives youngsters a taste of life behind bars, but also enables them to reflect on the heavy price for committing crimes. Many of the participants remarked that the programme was thought-provoking and enabled them to have a better understanding of the serious consequences of committing crimes.

The RPP has been well-received by the public and over 260,000 youngsters participated in the programme by the end of 2016, covering 70% of the local secondary schools. Community education initiatives promoted by CSD are believed to have made a positive contribution to the persistent decrease in the number of young persons in custody admitted due to drug-related crimes.

Following the success of its community education work, CSD launched the new Vision, Mission and Values (VMV) statement in 2017. It incorporates the two elements of “community education” and “crime prevention” with a view to addressing the needs of the society. During the review process of the VMV statement, in addition to management’s views, comments from staff and staff unions were also incorporated. All members of staff were invited to express their opinions by completing a questionnaire, and their responses confirmed that the revised VMV statement was widely accepted.

CSD addresses the needs of the community by extending its existing scope of work. Its former and current roles complement each other to make a significant contribution to the stability and inclusiveness of Hong Kong.

CSD promotes rehabilitation and community education through various platforms, such as the official website, Facebook page, mobile application, departmental monthly newsletter “The Guardian”, an annual press conference, and an open day.
CSD promotes rehabilitation and community education through various platforms, such as the official website, Facebook page, mobile application, departmental monthly newsletter “The Guardian”, an annual press conference, and an open day.
RPP comprises a series of community education activities to disseminate messages around leading a law-abiding and drug-free life as well as supporting rehabilitation.
RPP comprises a series of community education activities to disseminate messages around leading a law-abiding and drug-free life as well as supporting rehabilitation.
By participating in “The Reflective Path” initiative, youngsters are able to experience first-hand the life of persons in custody and reflect on the consequences of committing crimes
By participating in “The Reflective Path” initiative, youngsters are able to experience first-hand the life of persons in custody and reflect on the consequences of committing crimes