Commissioner of Correctional Services highlights CSD's achievements and passes baton to new generation (with photos)
Addressing the Passing-out cum Commissioner's Farewell Parade of the CSD at its Staff Training Institute in Stanley, Mr Yau also pointed out that 2017 is a year of commemorations. It marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the 35th anniversary of the renaming of the then Prisons Department to the CSD and the 80th anniversary of the establishment of Stanley Prison. To Mr Yau, it carries the distinctive meaning that he will pass on the baton to the new generation.
He said law and order is the cornerstone of the stability and prosperity of Hong Kong. As the gatekeeper of the criminal justice system, the CSD is committed to protecting public safety and preventing crime and hence contributes to a safer and more inclusive society.
Mr Yau said the CSD commissioned the City University of Hong Kong late last year to conduct a consultancy study to quantify in monetary terms the social cost arising from crime and calculate the cost saved through its work on rehabilitation and community education. The study was the first of its kind in Hong Kong, and its findings were announced at Conference 2017 - Evolution of Corrections last month. He said it was highly encouraging that the costs saved amounted to $74.3 billion in the past five years.
He said it is critical for the department to ensure a secure, safe, humane, decent and healthy custodial environment to achieve positive outcomes in safe custody and rehabilitation. This creates the optimal conditions for the effective implementation of rehabilitation programmes. In addition, the adoption of proactive "nip-in-the-bud" and "zero-tolerance" strategies helps to curb the occurrence of illicit activities. As a result, no riot or disturbance has happened since 2000, and no successful escape has occurred since 2008.
On rehabilitation, he said the CSD offers, among others, assessment, counselling, education and more than 40 types of vocational training to facilitate the smooth reintegration of persons in custody into society upon release. At the same time, the department has spared no effort in promoting public support for and acceptance of rehabilitated persons. Thanks to the concerted efforts of all stakeholders, the recidivism rate, based on the respective years of discharge, has decreased from 39.9 per cent in 2000 to the latest figure of 25.9 per cent in 2014.
Mr Yau said the department has recently stepped up promotion of community education and elevated the departmental mission from "crime reduction" to "crime prevention". Through different programmes under the Rehabilitation Pioneer Project, including "The Reflective Path", the CSD partners with schools and related organisations to promote positive, law-abiding and inclusive values among young people. This new approach has received strong support from CSD colleagues. In February this year, the department incorporated the change in its "Vision, Mission and Values" statement to reflect its commitment to addressing the needs of the community.
The department's initiative to reach out to the community further enhances the transparency of its systems and establishes a virtuous circle of promoting stakeholders' awareness as well as appreciation of and support for its work. In this connection, Mr Yau expressed his heartfelt gratitude to all stakeholders, in particular those attending the Parade, for their encouragement and support, which has motivated the CSD to rise to the challenges.
Mr Yau said, "Throughout my 37 years of service, I have witnessed the incessant efforts of generations of our colleagues. I could never forget their contributions to the paradigm shift of our role. I am deeply grateful for being blessed to work with many fine officers who remain extremely proud of serving the community despite all the ups and downs. They are highly commendable and deserving of recognition for doing an exceptional job that sustains the development of a safer and more inclusive Hong Kong."
Looking ahead, Mr Yau said the work of the department will be more demanding, citing factors including rising stakeholders' expectations. That said, he expressed confidence in all passing-out members, noting that with their steadfastness to serve as a team, the department will be in good hands as colleagues build on predecessors' past achievements.
The Passing-out parade today marked the completion of recruit training for a total of 23 Officers and 85 Assistant Officers II.
Ends/Friday, August 18, 2017
Issued at HKT 16:30
Issued at HKT 16:30