CSD says its emphasis on rehabilitation means recruits must be people-oriented Those with a background in social work will have an advantage over other candidates in this year's recruitment for prison wardens, as the Correctional Services Department puts more emphasis on rehabilitation. The deputy head of the department's training institute, Chan Wai-kin, said new officers would have to learn how to work with other NGOs in helping inmates reintegrate into society. 'The transition from prison to society is extremely vital. If we give [the inmates] a hand, it will be a great help in keeping them away from falling into the pitfalls of society again,' he said. The department will be recruiting almost 200 new officers and assistant officers. Mr Chan said knowledge in dealing with people and understanding others' needs put candidates who had studied social work in a competitive position. He said the same applied to those with backgrounds in areas such as counselling or nursing. 'They are very important as every day the officers will have to deal with different people, including the inmates,' he said. There are five former social workers in the 36-strong class currently under way at the department's training school in Stanley. As only 28 members of the class were from outside the department - the other eight were promoted internally - the former social workers make up almost 20 per cent of the class. Their 26 weeks of training include psychology as well as counselling. To enable new recruits to learn more about working in a prison environment, the department has built mock cells and factories at the training school. During training, classmates and instructors act as trouble-making inmates to test the officers. They are asked to hide contraband inside the 'cells' to help them understand the mindset of inmates. 'Although they can remember all the theories ... these facilities will allow them to apply them in real life and see how they handle the situations,' Mr Chan said. Tsang Kwong-yum, 29, was a school social worker for five years before joining the department last month. He felt he could continue to help people in his new job. The officer cadet, who holds a master's degree in family counselling, said his experience in social work had convinced him that many problems arose from family troubles. He believed being sent to correctional institutions had helped some youngsters he had worked with. 'They show a big difference after returning from the institutes. Maybe in the past, they lacked the support of their families,' he said. Serving CSD officers will have to return to the training institute for a two-day refresher course every four years, to learn about new techniques and the department's new policies and practices.