LCQ9: Education and training provided for young persons in custody
The Correctional Services Department (CSD) currently provides various academic and vocational training courses for young persons in custody (PICs) to help them reintegrate into society after they are released. CSD has also set up a number of education funds and subsidy schemes for application by PICs to alleviate the financial burden incurred by them as a result of pursuing further studies. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the number of young PICs taking vocational training courses in each of the past five years, with a breakdown by subject area of course;
(2) whether the Government will provide employment counselling services for young PICs after they complete the training courses and are released; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and
(3) whether the Government will consider injecting funds into the aforesaid education funds and subsidy schemes, so as to promote young PICs' pursuit of further studies; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
The reply to the Member's question is as follows:
(1) The Correctional Services Department (CSD) provides half-day education and half-day vocational training for young persons in custody (PICs) under the age of 21. Currently, the CSD provides 13 half-day vocational training courses for young PICs, including commercial practice, creative multimedia technology, coffee house production, Western pastry and dessert making, building services, beauty care, hairstyling, and so on. The CSD will also arrange for these PICs to sit for examinations held by accreditation organisations to obtain qualifications recognised by the market, so as to enhance their employability and help them enrol in bridging or progressive courses in the future, thereby facilitating their re-integration into society after release.
In the past five years, the numbers of young PICs taking vocational training examinations at correctional institutions are tabulated below:
|Course / Year||2018||2019||2020*||2021*||2022*|
|Building and engineering||130||111||36||16||21|
|Food and beverages||217||154||107||187||159|
|Beauty and hair care||84||74||81||133||71|
|Commercial practice and computer application||23||8||17||13||18|
(2) Before release, the local PICs would attend the Pre-release Re-integration Orientation Course arranged by the CSD, during which they would be provided with the latest information on job vacancies and equipped with job search and interview skills. In addition, supervising officers will closely supervise young PICs subject to statutory supervision after release through regular meetings, counselling, and visits to their workplaces, and offer rehabilitation programmes to supervisees to ensure continued support and guidance, thereby facilitating their re-integration into society.
To encourage PICs to make life planning early so that they can contribute to society by utilising their talents, the CSD launched the "Project JET" in October 2022, which provides one-stop training and career development opportunities for PICs. Activities under the project include: (1) life planning: to provide talks and workshops on life planning for PICs in correctional institutions; (2) in-centre training: to provide relevant professional training for PICs; (3) post-release internship: to provide post-release internship opportunities in Hong Kong or the Greater Bay Area for PICs who have completed relevant training; (4) official employment: to offer full-time employment to rehabilitated persons with good performance during their internship; and (5) mentoring scheme: to match rehabilitated persons with appropriate mentors as life mentors to teach them work skills and provide life education during their internship and official employment.
(3) The CSD arranges for young PICs under the age of 21 to attend educational classes at junior to senior secondary level taught by qualified teachers, and assists them to sit for the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination, so that they can choose to continue their studies or seek employment after release. As for post-secondary education, the CSD signed Memoranda of Understanding with the Hong Kong Metropolitan University and the eight University Grants Committee-funded universities in October 2022 and April 2023 respectively, with a view to providing more comprehensive support to those PICs who were studying tertiary programmes, including the provision of financial assistance, credit transfers and programme articulation.
To encourage continuous learning of PICs, the CSD has set up the Prisoners' Education Trust Fund and a number of education subsidy schemes to provide financial assistance to PICs who want to pursue further studies but have financial difficulties to pay for public examination fees and fees for distance learning courses. Funding has been contributed by donations of charitable organisations and the community. Meanwhile, the CSD makes the best use of resources to enhance the educational support for PICs, such as procuring books and relevant equipment to facilitate PICs' learning in correctional institutions.
Ends/Wednesday, May 17, 2023
Issued at HKT 14:45
Issued at HKT 14:45