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LCQ16: To help juveniles offenders reintegrate into the society

     Following is a written reply by the Secretary for Security, Mr Ambrose S K Lee, to a question by the Hon Cyd Ho Sau-lan in the Legislative Council today (February 16):


     According to the local crime figures in 2010 released by the Hong Kong Police Force in January 2011, a total of 3,576 juveniles aged between 10 and 15 were arrested for crimes in 2010. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the number of juveniles aged between 10 and 15 who had been arrested for crimes in each of the past five years, together with a breakdown by the offence committed (set out in table form);

(b) how many juveniles in (a) had been convicted, and what penalties had been imposed on them (with a breakdown set out in table form);

(c) whether it knows the number of juveniles in (b) who had to leave their original schools because they were sentenced to detention;

(d) what procedures have been adopted by the authorities to assist these juveniles in returning to school after serving their sentences; and

(e) whether it knows the average time taken by the juveniles in (c) to apply for returning to school after having served their sentences; how many juveniles had still not been able to return to school one month (excluding holidays) after having served their sentences; during this period, how the authorities assisted them in getting back on the right track; and how many juveniles had been able to return to mainstream government schools, subsidised schools, private schools or other types of schools after having served their sentences, broken down by the type of school attended by them (set out in table form)?



(a) and (b) Information on juveniles between the age of 10 and 15 who were arrested, convicted and sentenced for crimes in the past five years is set out at Annex.

(c), (d) and (e) Convicted juveniles between the age of 10 and 15 may be sentenced to detention at a probation home (Note¡^ under the Social Welfare Department (SWD) and may have to leave their original schools. Those aged 14 or above may be sentenced to detention at correctional facilities under the Correctional Services Department (CSD). After serving their sentences at the probation home or correctional facilities, juveniles under 15 have to return to school while those aged 15 or above or have completed Form III of secondary education may choose to continue their study or work.

     According to the records of the SWD and CSD, a total of 110 juveniles aged between 10 and 15 were sentenced to SWD's probation home and left their original schools in 2010. Another 130 juveniles aged between 14 and 15 were sentenced to CSD's correctional facilities.

     The probation home under the SWD provides programmes on academic, generic and vocational knowledge and skills training programmes to juveniles in regard to their duration of detention and their learning needs so as to facilitate their continuation of studies or employment upon discharge. The training programmes are designed by the Vocational Training Council and provided inside the probation home. Through individual counselling and group work, resident social workers help the juveniles adapt to the life in the probation home and complete the rehabilitation programmes during their detention. Case conferences with the juveniles' parents/guardians and supervising caseworkers/probation officers will be conducted to work out appropriate arrangements for the juveniles after discharge, including rehabilitation plans for continuation of studies or employment. Social workers of SWD's probation home will, in collaboration with the professionals concerned, provide aftercare services to discharged juvenile offenders until the end of court orders.

     To help juvenile offenders reintegrate into the society or return to schools upon discharge, the CSD provides half-day education programmes for juvenile inmates under the age of 21. In addition to general subjects such as Chinese language, English language, Mathematics and Liberal Studies, the CSD offers practical courses such as those on computer and commercial subjects which are taught by qualified teachers. Staff of the Rehabilitation Unit of the CSD encourage and assist juvenile offenders to make future plans, including arrangements for continuation of study or employment, with their families before discharge. In general, juvenile offenders will be subject to statutory supervision after discharge. Supervision staff of the CSD will visit and counsel supervisees from time to time during this period to help them adapt to the new life and stay away from crime. A breach of the supervision conditions may result in the supervisees being recalled back to an institution for further training.

     In 2010, 122 juvenile offenders aged between 10 and 15 were discharged from SWD's probation home after having served their sentences. Among them, 96 returned to primary schools, secondary schools or other types of schools upon discharge; 18 took up employment and eight were transferred to correctional facilities to serve their sentences for having committed other crimes. In the same year, 80 juvenile offenders between the age of 14 and 15 were discharged from CSD's correctional facilities. Among them, 26 returned to secondary schools or other types of schools within one month after discharge; 48 took up employment after discharge; three were deported immediately after discharge for violating the Immigration Ordinance, and three found in breach of supervision orders after release were recalled for further training. Both SWD and CSD do not have statistical data on the types of schools attended by juveniles who have left the probation home or correctional facilities after having served their sentence.

Note: A probation home refers to an "approved institution" under the Probation of Offenders Ordinance (Cap. 298) or a "reformatory school" under the Reformatory Schools Ordinance (Cap. 225).

Ends/Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Issued at HKT 17:16


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