2. Orders for Detention
For the purposes of the RHO, “imprisonment” does not include orders for detention in a reformatory school, a detention centre, training centre, rehabilitation centre or place of detention. These orders relate to offenders under 25. With these offenders, the emphasis is on long-term reform and rehabilitation, rather than punishment. They are indeterminate sentences in the sense that the court makes an order confining the offender to a reformatory school, detention centre, training centre, rehabilitation centre or other place of detention without specifying the duration of the detention.
Subject to serving a minimum period of detention, such offenders are released when the Commissioner for Correctional Services is satisfied they are fit to be released. Training centre, detention centre and rehabilitation centre orders involve post-release supervision, which is an important part of long-term reform and rehabilitation. This post-release supervision affects the calculation of the three-year period for spent convictions. Under s. 2(2)of the RHO, the conviction of a person sentenced to a training centre, detention centre or rehabilitation centre becomes spent only after three years from the end of the period of post-release supervision.
Training centre orders can be made for males and females aged between 14 and 21 who have committed an offence punishable with imprisonment, except where the sentence is fixed by law. An example of a sentence fixed by law is murder, for which the only penalty is life imprisonment. Offenders can be detained in a training centre for a maximum of three years. A minimum period of six months’ detention must be served before the offender can be considered for release.
Detention centre orders may be made for males aged between 14 and 25 convicted of an offence punishable by imprisonment, except where the sentence for the offence is fixed by law. Offenders aged 21 or over are detained in a detention centre for not less than three months or more than 12 months. Offenders aged under 21 are detained for not less than one month and not more than six months.
A Rehabilitation Centre Order can be made for males and females aged between 14 and 21. Offenders are detained for not less than three months and not more than nine months.
The period of post-release supervision to which offenders released from a training centre, detention centre or rehabilitation centre are subject means that the three-year qualifying period for the conviction to become spent runs only from the completion of the period of post-release supervision. An offender sent to a training centre could be released, for example, after nine months, provided the Commissioner for Correctional Services considers he or she fit for release.
However, under s. 5 of the Training Centres Ordinance (Cap.280), that offender may be subject to supervision by a probation officer for a period of up to three years from the date of release. The conviction which led to the training centre order becomes spent only three years after the post-release supervision period has ended.