New scheme offers young offenders chance to work

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 October, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 October, 1999, 12:00am

Young offenders will be allowed to work for the first time under a proposed new rehabilitation scheme.

Those aged between 14 and 21 who have committed offences such as shoplifting and minor assault but do not have a string of past convictions will benefit.

They will be sent to a rehabilitation centre for two to five months where they will be trained in discipline, how to control themselves and the way to develop a regular living pattern.

Careers courses in areas such as commerce and computers will be provided.

Offenders will then be transferred to a half-way house for one to four months. From here they can go to work, attend training and educational courses and take part in community service programmes.

Afterwards, they will be subject to one year's statutory supervision by Correctional Services Department officers.

Offenders may receive cash grants when released from the rehabilitation centre.

David Wong, principal assistant secretary for security, said the scheme would provide another option for courts.

'Detention centres are too harsh in terms of length for some offenders but probation may be too lenient,' he said.

The scheme would help offenders learn socially acceptable behaviour, necessary social and life skills and how to re-integrate to society.

Some correctional facilities would be converted to rehabilitation centres and half-way hostels.

A bill on the scheme will be gazetted today.