Employment key to controlling recidivism

Updated: 2016-02-03 08:02

By Wang Yuke(HK Edition)

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A simple part-time job could prevent young offenders from recommitting crimes - as the city has seen a steady decline in the rate of recidivism with its emphasis on both academic and vocational training in its correctional services system.

Raymond Tang Ping-ming, assistant commissioner of rehabilitation at the Correctional Services Department (CSD), told China Daily employment was important in stopping young people from reoffending.

The recidivism rate in Hong Kong has dropped from 39.9 percent 12 years ago to 29 percent today, according to the department.

"A decline in the recidivism rate has much to do with their acquisition of special skills and qualifications acquired in prison," Tang said.

Young offenders, mostly disconnected from their families, can hardly live on monthly-paid jobs as they do not provide an instant source of income. This leaves the young offenders with the choice of blue-collar manual jobs at construction sites, kitchens and other places.

However, social prejudice toward young ex-offenders has yet to be eliminated.

"Employers of white-collar jobs and government jobs remain off-limits to them," observed Bob Lee, a social worker of HKFYG.

Lee mentioned a young ex-prisoner who was jailed for robbing a bank. He was unable to become a fireman as he had aspired to be because of his criminal record.

"Young people are impressionable and immature, so it's no surprise that they tend to go astray. We should not dwell on their mishaps, but give them more tolerance," noted Sharon Wong, assistant officer of the CSD.

Wong is convinced that these young people can make as much of a contribution to society as anyone else.

(HK Edition 02/03/2016 page7)