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Health and Welfare Services in Victoria Prison

Victoria Prison had a comprehensive medical and health services for prisoners after the War. It had its own hospital served by Medical Officer seconded from the Department of Health supported by qualified department nursing personnel. On admission, all convicted prisoners were medically examined including an X-ray examination.  All persons in custody with medical complaints requiring in-patient care were usually hospitalized within the institution. Cases requiring intensive medical care or surgical operations were transferred to the civilian hospital. Comprehensive dental treatment was available to the inmates if required.

In 1960 a pilot Psychiatric Observation Unit was set up in Victoria Remand Prison for prisoners suspected or diagnosed to have mental problems. The Unit continued its operation until the opening of Siu Lam Psychiatric Centre in November 1972.

Owing to the large number of female offenders detained in Victoria Prison in the 2000s, special ante-natal and post-natal wards were set up within the prison hospital for those in need of such services. Infants and young children were allowed to stay with their mothers up to the age of three.

Prison cells in B, D and E Halls of Victoria Prison do not have integral sanitary arrangements and buckets had to be used at night for prisoners to answer the call of nature. Prisoners had to empty their buckets in the morning and the resultant foul smell had been the subject of repeated complaints from residents in Chancery Lane.

Prisoners might see the Superintendent and other senior officers on request and could also see the visiting Justices of the Peace if they wished to make a request or complaint. Multi-language notices were prominently displayed in Victoria Prison advising prisoners of such rights.

In 1970s welfare officers posts were created to look after the welfare of prisoners, illegal immigrants and Vietnamese detainees who were not subject to aftercare supervision on release. Counselling sessions were avail to assist and guide prisoners with personal problems and difficulties arising from imprisonment. Pre-release therapeutic courses, providing information on social resources and job-acquisition training were organized to prepare prisoners to address problems they might encounter after release. 

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