Inmates of Hong Kong prisons get a daily balanced diet
I refer to the article (“Life behind bars”, March 11), depicting some correctional institutions managed by the Correctional Services Department and selected treatments provided to people in custody.
I would like to explain to readers the job of the department and provide supplementary information.
The ratio of staff to people in custody of individual institutions is basically not a management parameter, and varies in accordance with the actual operational situations.
All people in custody are assigned to correctional facilities with due regard to various factors including, for example, classification, categorisation, offence committed, security, and so on, and not just their period of detention. All are regularly provided with basic necessities, including a toilet roll, and may ask for replenishment whenever needed.
They are provided with a balanced diet every day and will under no circumstances be provided with plain rice and vegetables only. Meals are based on a bi-weekly menu, instead of being repeated every three days.
The earnings of people in custody range from HK$23 to
HK$192 per week, depending on the level of skills required for their assigned work. Those assigned to book lamination work will not be rewarded the minimum rate in general.
Other than the prescribed phone arrangements, all those in custody may ask to make phone calls on justifiable grounds. Finally, with searching operations and other proactive measures in place, illicit activities such as gambling in correctional facilities have been properly contained and nipped in the bud.
The department places great emphasis on rehabilitation of people in custody, to reduce instances of reoffending.
For instance, over 500 inmates completed distance-learning courses last year, with four attaining bachelor degrees or above, while the employment rates for those completing vocational training courses were 82.3 per cent and 90.2 per cent for adult and young people in custody, respectively.
In fact, the recidivism rate decreased from 35.6 per cent in 2005 to 25.9 per cent in 2014.
The department has also reached out to promote community education on crime prevention in recent years. Some 36,000 youths participated in different programmes under this category last year.
While addressing the public’s right to know with due regard to the right to privacy of those in custody, as well as our operational and security concerns, the department regularly arranges for the media to visit correctional facilities, with the latest one to Cape Collinson Correctional Institution and Stanley Prison on March 2.
Diana Kam, for commissioner of correctional services