'Health measure' still a valid reason

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 October, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 October, 2002, 12:00am

I refer to Tim Hamlett's column headlined 'Time to give regulation haircuts for prisoners the chop' (South China Morning Post, October 10).

Under Section 34 of Prison Rules which every prisoner has to obey, such directions regarding washing, bathing, shaving and hair cutting may, from time to time, be prescribed for health and cleanliness reasons.

The practical reason for a haircut, as mentioned by Mr Hamlett, 'a simple public health measure', is still valid these days when hundreds of people live within a confined environment. It is neither an assertion of the 'supremacy of the organisation' nor a 'gratuitous ritual humiliation'.

Also, I would like to point out that the Correctional Services Department has never updated anyone on the state of any inmate or prisoner. Instead, we are required under Section 20 of the same rules to protect prisoners from public view.

When removing prisoners to and from prison, we will adopt suitable measures to ensure that they will be exposed to public view as little as possible and proper safeguards to protect them from insult or curiosity.


for Commissioner of

Correctional Services