GBA rule of law action plan released

Education changes lives behind bars

Ethics College student Alan (a pseudonym) recently attained 96 marks out of 100 in his Mathematics exam. “Never had I thought I could make it,” he said of the breakthrough in his academic life.


Serving a sentence for the offence of trafficking in dangerous drugs, Alan is now also a full-time student in the Correctional Services Department’s Ethics College.


The college is a new initiative established last year to give adults in custody the chance to pursue a one-year full-time Diploma of Applied Education, instead of working. The aim is to better equip them for the future, encourage them to adopt positive values and, most importantly, change their lives through education.


Back to school

Having left school more than 10 years ago, and having failed all subjects in his public examination, Alan initially attempted self-study while in custody but found it impossible.


“I tried to learn English by myself while in custody before but it was too hard to do so because no one could help me when I did not understand something,” he said. “I gave up eventually.”


As an Ethics College student, however, Alan has seen steady improvement in his learning, assisted by caring teachers and hard-working fellow students.


Correctional Services Department Assistant Officer I Or Siu-ming, who is responsible for overseeing students’ discipline and studies in the college, said he had witnessed remarkable changes both in Alan’s academic performance and in his attitude.


“I felt really touched with Alan’s positive changes here, from being a person with low confidence to a better one who would plan for his future.”

In his remaining four years behind bars, Alan plans to further his study by pursuing an associate degree. He hopes to seek a better career and repay his parents in the future.


“When I was young, my parents had very high expectations on me and wanted me to concentrate on my studies, but I made them disappointed.


“This time, I will never let them down again. I hope to better equip myself here and find a good job after I get released.”


Total support

Bella (also a pseudonym) is an Ethics College student who was also convicted of trafficking in dangerous drugs.


Not having completed her Secondary 5 study, she feared that her insufficient academic qualifications would prevent her from finding a good job after her release.


The Ethics College has given her what she considers to be a life-changing opportunity to go back to school.


“When I learnt that I have a chance to study again, I was very happy and took the chance to apply. I could not imagine that I would be finally admitted to the college.”


Bella explained that she receives enormous support for her studies in the college.


“Apart from classes on school days, there are also volunteers visiting and tutoring us during the holidays. After class, I can use a tablet to continue my revision in my dormitory.


“The officers who take care of us are kind and nice. They care about every single student in class.”


The department’s Assistant Officer II Hui Ka-yin, who supervises Bella in the college, praised her for being hard-working and for helping to create a good learning atmosphere in class, influencing her fellow classmates to work hard as well.


“After studying one semester, she grew in confidence and became a hard-working person who is eager to plan for her future.”


Bella, who expects to be released this year, now has a clear career goal.


“I have already found my interest here,” she said. “I plan to further my study in animal-assisted therapy. I want to do a job that I like in the future.”


The Ethics College launched at the end of October with a total of 75 students in its first batch. The intake’s 60 male students are receiving their education at Pak Sha Wan Correctional Institution, with 15 female students attending the classes remotely at Lo Wu Correctional Institution.