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Rehabilitation for Young Offenders in Hong Kong Correctional Institutions

NCJ Number
Journal of Correctional Education Volume: 59 Issue: 1 Dated: March 2008 Pages: 49-63
Kai Yung Tam; Mary Anne Heng
Date Published
March 2008
15 pages
This study describes the rehabilitation programs for young offenders as developed by the Hong Kong Correctional Services Department (CSD).
Findings suggest that research in correctional education has documented the significant, positive effects of educational programming in reducing recidivism rates. There is strong evidence that effective correctional education lowers the number of inmates returning to prison by 25 to 30 percent. At the Hong Kong CSD, education and vocational training are compulsory for all young offenders. Juvenile offenders are encouraged to participate in both local and international examinations; financial assistance is available to pay for examination course fees, and educational resources. The curriculum used follows that of the secondary school curriculum mandated by the Education and Manpower Bureau for all secondary school students in Hong Kong. The teachers at the Hong Kong CSD are certified to teach in regular secondary schools. Remedial programs are offered to young offenders who have learning difficulties, and are conducted by teachers with training in special educational needs. An offending behavior program helps young offenders develop prosocial values and attitudes, reduce criminal thinking and dispositions, and acquire appropriate social skills to replace the offending behaviors. At the Hong Kong CSD, the concept of “thorough care” ensures that there is very sound follow-through and careful supervision of young offenders from the point of entry to well after release from the correctional institution. The multiplicity of issues that delinquent youth face, including literacy levels, employability, learning characteristics, substance abuse, and mental health needs makes it imperative that a rehabilitative program adopt a multifaceted, holistic approach that will help juveniles in the areas of vocational, literacy, and adjustment skills, as well as with transition or aftercare services that are needed in a successful program. Tables, references, endnotes