Though rehabilitation effort is an arduous attempt, CityU Apps Lab (CAL) offered a ground-breaking programme for Correctional Services Department (CSD) to teach the rehabilitated offenders how to code, so as to help them re-integrating into mundane society and equip them with interpersonal and technical skills. Basic essential web coding languages were delivered to fifteen of those who are incarcerated in Tung Tau Correctional Institution. The graduation ceremony marked the completion of the 2-month workshops on 25th November 2015.
In the ceremony, the team who received the ‘Gold Award’ presented a football-themed website as an information distribution platform for fans to share exclusive newsfeed and connect with the fellow supporters across the globe. The participants were glad to have the opportunity to learn basic knowledge on website creation and content design, which may enable them to be competitive when they are released from prison. Indeed, what they gained were beyond coding itself but building confidence and self-esteem in their ability to grasp new ideas and worked with a team through various practices which the related experience can navigate them through the re-entry process and fuel their inspirations to pursue and achieve attainable goals.
“The program would not have been successful without the open-minded encouragement and support from the senior management executives of the Correctional Services Department (CSD),” said Dr. Tse Wing Ling, the Associate Professor of Applied Social Science Department, who help to bring different learning opportunities into the prisons. Mr. Lam Wai Kwong from the CSD was encouraged to witness accomplishments of these participants and expressed his gratitude towards CAL’s kind contribution. Officers like Leung Sir and Kei Sir in Tung Tau Correctional Institution also gave all rounded support to the program. They attested that the meaningful correctional program contributed to creating a more positive environment within the prison itself.
“It was a challenging yet rewarding experience for our committed members,“ added Dr. Ray Cheung, the Director of CAL, and Dr. Ron Kwok, the Associate Director of CAL. For example, as no Internet connection was available within the institution area, the participants were unable to access to any online materials themselves for the group project. Therefore, the teaching assistants had to help collect all required materials from the Internet beforehand.
At the end, the participants showed appreciation to CAL helpers for empower them to reconnect with the computer-dominated world. “This experience was beneficial to both sides since it was also an eye-opener for our members to link up with the people from all walks of life and have a better understanding of them” said Dr. Ray.