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Community Service Orders in Hong Kong, England, and Wales: Twins or Cousins

Wing Lo, T
June 4, 2015

Source: (2004) International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology. 48(3): 373-388.

Hong Kong was a British colony until July 1, 1997, and it developed CSO’s 14 years later than England and Wales. The birth of CSO’s in both jurisdictions was strongly influenced by the rehabilitative concepts outlined in the Wootton Report, which originally launched the CSO in England and Wales in 1973; however, Hong Kong has maintained its distinctiveness in emphasizing rehabilitation and reintegration. England and Wales, on the other hand, have given higher priority to the retributive goal of the CSO. The recent renaming of the CSO as a community punishment order has confirmed this priority. In Hong Kong, the 1997 takeover presented the risk that Chinese legal and penal practices might contaminate the British-based system of law and criminal justice; however, this has not happened with respect to the CSO’s, as personalized social services that contain elements of restorative justice have been persistently advocated. The CSO’s in both jurisdictions thus look more like cousins. If current trends in Hong Kong and England and Wales continue, CSO’s will move toward restorative justice. The incorporation or the reparative elements advocated in restorative justice might confer greater perceived legitimacy on CSO’s. The authors of this paper argue that one way to achieve restorative justice in CSO’s is to involve victims in the choice of community service to be performed by the offender, thus promoting both the rehabilitation of offenders and the empowerment of victims to seek appropriate reparations. Abstract courtesy of National Criminal Justice Reference Service,


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