Students' visit to jail part of community education campaign
I write to clarify some of the factual points made in your report ("Fright factor denied as pupils 'sent to jail'", September 17).
Since 2008, the Correctional Services Department has run the community education campaign Rehabilitation Pioneer Project (RPP), with a view to delivering the messages of "leading a law-abiding life", "leading a drug-free life" and "supporting offender rehabilitation" for the sole purpose of crime prevention. Its activities include education talks, personal encounter with prisoners scheme, green haven scheme, visits to Hong Kong Correctional Services Museum and a student forum. The mission of the RPP remains unchanged.
The new event, "The Reflective Path", which features a simulation of imprisonment in an actual correctional institution, is meant only to strengthen the delivery of the three messages.
Before its formal launch on September 16, we had five trial runs. During the trial period, comments from clinical psychologists, principals, teachers, parents, students and community leaders were sought and consolidated to work out the present format.
The Reflective Path has employed an established mechanism involving collaboration with the schools, parents and students. Information sheets detailing the mission of the RPP and the activities of the Reflective Path were sent to interested schools, together with consent forms for distribution to students.
Application forms must be filled and signed by schools and consent from parents was sought. The mechanism ensured all parties understood the theme and content of the activities and all participants joined on a voluntary basis.
We stress in no uncertain terms that the event carries no other message apart from what I have mentioned above and all students participated of their own accord.
Marenda Lo, for commissioner of correctional services