For discussion EC(97-98)38
on 3 December 1997
ITEM FOR ESTABLISHMENT SUBCOMMITTEE
OF FINANCE COMMITTEE
HEAD 30 - CORRECTIONAL SERVICES DEPARTMENT
Subhead 001 Salaries
Members are invited to recommend to Finance Committee the creation of the following permanent post in the Correctional Services Department -
1 Assistant Commissioner of Correctional Services
(GDS(C)2) ($110,000 - $116,800)
The Commissioner of Correctional Services (C of CS) does not have sufficient support at the Assistant Commissioner level to co-ordinate policy and programme development in the area of rehabilitation of offenders.
2. The C of CS, with the support of the Secretary for Security, proposes to create a permanent post of Assistant Commissioner of Correctional Services (GDS(C)2).
The Existing Structure
3. At present, the C of CS is underpinned by a Deputy Commissioner (GDS(C)3) who in turn is assisted by three Assistant Commissioners (AC) (GDS(C)2) and an Administrative Officer Staff Grade C (D2) designated as Civil Secretary. We set out below the areas of responsibilities of the three ACs and the Civil Secretary -
- AC (Operations) (AC(O)) is responsible for the overall delivery of correctional services including the management of all staff and inmates in the 23 penal institutions, the rehabilitation of offenders to help them to re-integrate into society, and the handling of inmates' complaints referred by The Ombudsman and Justices of Peace. In addition, he is responsible for managing the Emergency Support Group and has taken over the residual responsibilities of the Assistant Commissioner (Vietnamese Migrants) (AC(VM)) (e.g. paragraph 8(a) below) since that post lapsed on 1 October 1997.
- AC (Inspectorate and Management Services) (AC(I&MS)) is responsible for maintaining an independent inspectorate to check and ensure that safe and humane custodial services are provided for all inmates according to approved prison rules and regulations. He is also responsible for conducting independent reviews and management studies to ensure the efficacy and efficiency of departmental policies and management arrangements.
- AC (Personnel) (AC(P)) is responsible for departmental human resources management, including the administration of personnel, establishment, recruitment, quartering, staff training, staff relations and staff welfare functions.
- Civil Secretary is responsible for capital works project planning and monitoring, implementation of policy strategies on Correctional Services Industries, and departmental administration. He also advises the C of CS on the handling of media and on public relations.
The existing organisation and distribution of business among the ACs and the Civil Secretary are at Enclosure 1.
Pressure Areas Facing the AC(O)
4. We focus our recent initiatives to improve correctional services on three major areas : measures to address overcrowding in correctional institutions; measures to enhance the transparency, efficiency and fairness of our prison sentence review systems; and improvements to the rehabilitation programmes for offenders. Unfortunately, all the work on these fronts in the Correctional Services Department (CSD) currently rest with the AC(O).
5. Prison Overcrowding - We are committed to relieving prison overcrowding and have been co-ordinating projects to increase penal accommodation since 1991. Currently, the AC(O) is responsible for managing over 7 000 staff and about 11 500 inmates in the 23 existing penal institutions. His workload will become heavier when the Tung Tau Correctional Institution (Annex) opens by the end of the year, the Stanley Maingate Lodge opens in February 1998, the Pak Sha Wan Prison opens towards the end of 1998 and the Yam O Prison Complex opens around 2003.
6. Prison Sentence Review Systems - We are taking steps to improve the transparency, efficiency and fairness of our prison sentence review systems. In addition to the statutory Release under Supervision Scheme which we have been operating since 1988, we have set up a statutory Post-Release Supervision Board in December 1996 and enacted the Long-Term Prison Sentence Review Ordinance in June 1997. These new set-ups have made our prison sentence review systems more modern but the more elaborate procedures have generated additional workload for the AC(O) in preparing assessment reports, as well as co-ordinating the services provided by other Government departments and subvented organisation to ensure the smooth and effective operation of the three schemes.
7. Rehabilitation - The rehabilitation of offenders is a key emphasis of our penal policy. In the past few years, the CSD has introduced a number of rehabilitation programmes covering pre-sentence assessment, correctional education, special re-integration programme for young offenders, and psychological, aftercare, religious services, and welfare services. We are undertaking a major review with a view to bringing about further improvements. A research study conducted by the City University of Hong Kong on the effectiveness of our existing rehabilitation programmes for young offenders has recommended to widen the scope of the vocational and education training provided, as well as to strengthen the community re-integration programmes and half-way house programmes. The CSD will need to produce an implementation action plan in early 1998. This work also falls on the AC(O).
8. Furthermore, the following developments have placed extra burden on the AC(O) -
- The AC(VM) post lapsed on 1 October 1997 and the AC(O) has since assumed responsibility for the management of Vietnamese Migrants (VMs) and Vietnamese Illegal Immigrants (VIIs) in the Green Island Reception Centre and the High Island Detention Centre. He also oversees the extraction and the subsequent transfer to the airport of VMs and VIIs under the Orderly Repatriation Programme.
- Following greater publicity of the watch of The Ombudsman's Office in the correctional institutions, the number of complaints referred by The Ombudsman to the Department for investigation has increased substantially from 19 in 1995 to 86 in 1996, and 78 in the first six months of 1997, all of which require careful investigation.
- The CSD has embarked on an initiative to study the scope for improving the efficiency of security management in prisons by greater use of technology and electronic equipment. The AC(O), being the head of operations, has to be closely involved as directorate level leadership is essential to bringing the subsequent implementation of recommendations to fruition.
Need to Create an Additional AC Post
9. The above analysis indicates that the AC(O) post is very much overloaded. Owing to his immediate concerns over the operation and security of penal institutions, the AC(O) has not been able to devote adequate attention to rehabilitation services. Meanwhile, the AC(I&MS), AC(P) and Civil Secretary are already fully committed to the work in their respective schedules. Enclosure 2 gives a detailed account of the pressure areas facing these three officers. They do not, therefore, have any spare capacity to share out the workload of the AC(O).
10. With the growing emphasis on rehabilitation of offenders, there is a need to provide dedicated leadership to head the rehabilitation programmes. The study conducted by the City University has acknowledged this need. It proposed to split operations and rehabilitation in the line management. Specifically, the study recommended the creation of a new Rehabilitation Division in CSD under the leadership of a new post of Assistant Commissioner (Rehabilitation) (AC(Rehab)) to better co-ordinate policies and programme development related to the rehabilitation of offenders. The incumbent will also deal with new initiatives of the Department in making the prison sentence review system more efficient and transparent.
11. Establishing the AC (Rehab) post is critical to whether the Department's efforts on rehabilitation will be successful. Functionally, he has to give directives and formulate strategies for the long-term development of the rehabilitation services for inmates, and to facilitate the smooth operation of the relevant statutory prison sentence review boards and the management of half-way houses, as well as to deal with pressure groups and other concerned bodies on rehabilitation matters. He has also to identify gaps and overlaps in existing services, both within CSD and with other delivery agencies. He has to establish an action plan and ensure its proper implementation. Organisationally, he will become the focal point at which all the work relating to the rehabilitation and aftercare services will be co-ordinated. We set out at Enclosure 3 a chart showing the proposed organisation and distribution of business among the ACs and the Civil Secretary. We also set out at Enclosures 4 and 5 the revised description of AC(O) and the job description of the proposed AC(Rehab) respectively.
12. The additional notional annual salary cost of this proposal at MID-POINT is -
|$|| No. of Post
|New permanent post||1,360,800||1
13. The additional full annual average staff cost of the proposal, including salaries and staff on-cost, is $1,951,428.
14. We have not included any provision in the 1997-98 Estimates to meet the cost of this proposal, which is estimated at $302,000 for the remainder of the financial year. Subject to Members' approval of the proposal, we will provide the necessary supplementary provision under delegated authority.
15. This proposal has no direct consequence on the non-directorate establishment of CSD.
CIVIL SERVICE BUREAU COMMENTS
16. The Civil Service Bureau considers that the proposed ranking and grading of the post is appropriate.
ADVICE OF THE STANDING COMMITTEE ON DISCIPLINED SERVICES SALARIES AND CONDITIONS OF SERVICE
17. The Standing Committee on Disciplined Services Salaries and Conditions of Service has advised that the grading proposed for the post of Assistant Commissioner of Correctional Services would be appropriate if the post were to be created.
Enclosure 2 to EC(97-98)38
Pressure Areas Facing the AC(I&MS), AC(P) and Civil Secretary
With the implementation of the Sex Discrimination Ordinance, Disability Discrimination Ordinance and Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance, there is an increasing pressure for AC(I&MS) to review the existing Prison Ordinance and Prison Rules to tie in with these pieces of legislations. There is also a pressing need for more thorough and extensive investigation into complaints made by prisoners, staff and members of the public as well as on referral cases from public authorities other than The Ombudsman and Justices of Peace. These have already stretched the AC(I&MS) to the limit. In addition, the AC(I&MS) has to take up a number of ad hoc duties such as to carefully consider the findings and recommendations of a recent study by Human Rights Monitor and Human Rights Watch/Asia regarding prison conditions and management, with a view to bringing about further improvements to prison management. He is also tasked with the project to compile the Chinese version of more than 700 standing orders in order to facilitate understanding by staff, prisoners and members of the public.
2. The workload of the AC(P) has increased substantially as a result of expansion of the Department (from 4 290 staff in 1981 to 7 290 staff in 1996); more complex issues on staff communication, staff relations and staff welfare; the introduction of Human Resources Management (HRM) initiatives in the Department; and the delegation of certain HRM functions (e.g. training) from the Civil Service Bureau. There is also an increasing number of appeal/petition/judicial review cases related to staff indiscipline. Moreover, the AC(P) has been taking forward CSD's initiative to study the scope for improving the efficiency of security management in prisons by greater use of technology and electronic equipment. He is also required to oversee the planning and implementation of staff redeployment and redundancy programmes arising from the closure of VM Detention Centres.
3. Over the years, the CSD has taken on new programmes and services and hence the Civil Secretary has to oversee a wider and more complex Correctional Services Industries (CSI). This is reflected in the commercial value of production output in CSI over the past five years - an increase of 49% from $290 million in 1991 to $431 million in 1996. The Civil Secretary also faces increased workload on policy co-ordination of computerisation projects, including the planning and development of the Personnel Information Management System and the use of advanced technology to improve the efficiency of prison management, such as computerised access control and security systems. He also needs to monitor the progress of large scale works projects such as the Stanley Prison Area Redevelopment Project, and advise the Department on the handling of media and public enquiries.
Enclosure 4 to EC(97-98)38
Duty List of Assistant Commissioner (Operations)
Correctional Services Department
The Assistant Commissioner (Operations) is responsible to the Deputy Commissioner for the programme area of prison management and the operation of all penal institutions. The primary task is to ensure the provision of a safe and humane custody of all persons sentenced by the courts.
Description of Duties:
1. To plan, implement, direct, co-ordinate and control all operational matters pertaining to prison management, in particular, medical, welfare, food, basic necessities and living environment for all classes of inmates.
2. To oversee the maintenance of order, control and discipline within all penal institutions.
3. To oversee the proper implementation of treatment to prisoners and answer queries and complaints on treatment and operation.
4. To co-ordinate with other members of the Directorate on matters concerning -
- correctional programmes;
- work opportunities for all classes of inmates and industrial operations in institutions;
- financial and human resources and their application;
- security and facilities improvements in penal institutions; and
- professional standards in managing institutions.
Enclosure 5 to EC(97-98)38
Duty List of Assistant Commissioner (Rehabilitation)
Correctional Services Department
The Assistant Commissioner (Rehabilitation) is responsible to the Deputy Commissioner to take charge of the rehabilitation services and oversee the policy and programme development for rehabilitation.
Description of Duties:
1. To plan and utilize the resources in the programme area of reintegration and rehabilitation services provided for inmates and ex-offenders.
2. To scrutinize and review existing policies and programmes of reintegration and rehabilitation and to develop new initiatives in a co-ordinated manner.
3. To oversee the operation of various rehabilitation and reintegration programmes and ensure they are in line with their intended purposes.
4. To manage the staff in Headquarters who are working in the area of in-centre programmes, out-centre programmes, psychological services, education services, religious services and aftercare services.
5. To examine and implement the proposals contained in the research report on "The Effectiveness of Rehabilitation Programmes for Young Offenders" put forward by the City University of Hong Kong (1997).
6. To be responsible for the legislative amendments related to the streamlining and improvement of existing rehabilitation services.
Last Updated on 4 December 1997