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Global Times

HK to prepare for spike in youths in correctional facilities: dept chief

Global Times

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/7/13 18:09:58

The head of Hong Kong's Correctional Services Department (CSD) said a large number of young people are expected to be put into correctional institutions in the future, and the CSD will expand manpower and strengthen civic education for them.

Woo Ying-ming, the commissioner of correctional services of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), told media on Sunday that CSD will make different arrangements for those who think differently from previous prisoners.

Hong Kong media reported that a total of 9,216 people have been arrested since last year's social unrest due to the extradition bill, and 1,979 have been or are being processed by the judicial authorities, with 252 of them subject to legal consequences.

Woo said that many of those arrested are youths and students. "We expect to see a large number of young people coming into correctional institutions in the future," he said.

To prevent large-scale unrest in prisons, Woo said that additional regional police forces may be deployed and CSD staff will be trained to deal with young inmates who may be unlike those from the past.

The CSD will also conduct history and civic education to enable those serving sentences to broaden their understanding of China's development and to learn about relevant laws, such as the National Anthem Law and the national security law for HKSAR.

Woo said that although the number of youths returning to prison two years after being released had dropped from 24.2 percent in 2007 to 9.8 percent in 2017, he was saddened to see the number of young law-breakers rising since last year. He said CSD would give them a chance to turn over a new leaf.

Hong Kong media also reported that Woo decried those who incited violence among youths, noting that prison is not paradise. "The experience of a jail sentence will not brighten people's lives, and people will not leave the prison with a holy halo," he said.

Woo said that people should neither use violence to achieve their goals, nor spend the most precious years of their lives in prison. He reminded them that imprisonment leaves an indelible mark in one's life, and the environment inside prison is totally different from the outside.

No matter how tough people are mentally, when a person is put in handcuffs and into a prison car, the only thing left is the sound of the iron gate opening and closing every day, which breaks people down, said Woo.

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