Men's prisons will be turned into women's jails if the number of female inmates continues to rise, prison chiefs have revealed. Commissioner of Correctional Services Benny Ng Ching-kwok said last night the number of female prisoners had risen in recent years, and one in five inmates were now women. 'Male prisons will be turned into female ones if the population of women inmates rises to a certain level. This is one of the contingency plans we have prepared,' Mr Ng said. He did not give further details of the plans. The prison chief said his department was also working to improve rehabilitation programmes for illegal immigrants, who accounted for 24 per cent of the prison population. 'We want to make sure we have programmes in place which will enable them to be reintegrated into their society on the mainland rather than Hong Kong,' Mr Ng said. The former senior assistant police commissioner, who has just completed his first year of service with the Correctional Services Department, said overcrowding would remain a problem, and that overcrowding rates were projected to increase from the present 104 per cent to 116 per cent by 2003. Mr Ng said the idea of building a 'super-jail' to hold all 11,000 inmates under the same roof, reported by the South China Morning Post in February, was still under consideration and could not be confirmed yet. The 'super-jail' idea is one of several options being considered by the Government to improve the prison system. Addressing Hong Kong University's Society of Criminology's annual general meeting last night, Mr Ng also presented the findings of the department's latest prisoner re-admission survey, which found that 52.6 per cent of inmates discharged in 1995 were back in jail within three years. A breakdown on the figures for 1995 found that drug addicts had the highest re-admission rate, at 61.2 per cent. Adult prisoners as a whole had a re-admission rate of 52.1 per cent. Mr Ng also revealed that the department had considered privatising some correctional services institutions, as had been done in some other countries, but he said it had ruled out the option for the moment as it believed that direct supervision of inmates offered the best hope for rehabilitation. 'One of the many problems that has been encountered with privatisation is the ability to ensure the maintenance of quality of service,' he said.