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Hong Kong's first eco-friendly prison sparks row



Billed as the jail of the future, the sprawling 1.5 billion Hong Kong dollar Noun 1. Hong Kong dollar - the basic unit of money in Hong Kong
dollar - the basic monetary unit in many countries; equal to 100 cents
 (200 million US) facility was built based on a sustainable concept that promotes open space with green and energy-efficient features.

Authorities said the Lo Wu prison, the newest of the city's 16 prisons, which opened in August, aims to provide more humane living conditions for some 1,400 female inmates as the city moves to ease prison overcrowding overcrowding

overcrowding of animal accommodation. Many countries now publish codes of practice which define what the appropriate volumetric allowances should be for each species of animal when they are housed indoors. Breaches of these codes is overcrowding.
.

The prison boasts advanced features such as a "green" roof to lower temperature, rooftop solar panels, a natural lighting system, high-headroom spaces and large dormitory blocks to enhance natural ventilation.

The Lo Wu facility took three years to build and sits on a huge plot of land of about 53,000 square metres (around 570,000 square feet) in the city's outlying New Territories bordering China.

But it has raised eyebrows after winning a green building award last week, with critics saying the government is not doing enough to promote similar healthy living for many of the city's seven million people.

The English-language South China Morning Post The South China Morning Post, together with its Sunday edition, the Sunday Morning Post, is a English-language newspaper of Hong Kong, with a circulation of 104,000.  ran an editorial with a headline "Green prison shows up failings in our priorities," while readers wrote in to express their anger over the new jail.

"It illustrates perfectly an admirable trait of the Hong Kong public and the criminal justice system in which the primary hope is that criminals are rehabilitated during their time in jail so that they can contribute constructively to society upon their release," the Post said.

"It is, however, ironic that our convicted criminals have been able to benefit from focused and enlightened environmental planning, while law-abiding citizens so often find their living and working spaces compromised by a whole host of factors," the Post said.

Post reader Jefference Tay expressed similar concerns in a letter to the editor: "It just doesn't make sense to me. I have been to several public housing estates in Hong Kong This is a list of public housing estates in Hong Kong. Many of them are properties of Hong Kong Housing Authority (HKHA), while some of them are properties of Hong Kong Housing Society (HKHS). Central and Western District

Name Type Inaug.
 which have long, dark and airless corridors. Most of the units are extremely small.

"It is sad that the government has no long-term urban planning strategy," Tay wrote.

The glitzy glitz   Informal
n.
Ostentatious showiness; flashiness: "a garish barrage of show-biz glitz" Peter G. Davis.

tr.v.
 financial hub is one of the world's most affluent cities but many families must still squeeze multiple generations into tiny flats, thanks to rocketing prices and a shortage of residential property.

Costly housing also gave rise to the phenomenon of "cage homes" -- where thousands among the city's poorest cramp into old tenement flats and rent a metal cage barely big enough for a mattress.

A growing income gap has seen the number of people living in poverty rise 8.6 percent in recent years, from 1.16 million in 2005 to 1.26 million in mid-2010, according to Oxfam Hong Kong A member of the international non-government organization Oxfam, Oxfam Hong Kong started in 1987 to support first projects in China (Guangdong). It began development work in Hong Kong in 1996 and starting from 2000, It has advocated fair wage for out-sourced workers in Hong Kong. , a group that campaigns against poverty.

But Hong Kong's Architectural Services Department -- the new jail's designer -- defended the green project, saying it was built in line with government policy to "take the lead and set good examples" in promoting green buildings.

"A facility carefully designed and integrated with such environmentally friendly features provides a humane environment for inmates, and would surely facilitate the effective operation of the staff," information officer Kaman Chong told AFP (1) (AppleTalk Filing Protocol) The file sharing protocol used in an AppleTalk network. In order for non-Apple networks to access data in an AppleShare server, their protocols must translate into the AFP language. See file sharing protocol.  in an email.

"The overall cost for green features in the Lo Wu Correctional Institute project is less than one percent of the overall project cost, and it is within the reasonable range compared with other recent government projects," she said.

A spokeswoman from the Correctional Services Department, which runs the prison, declined comment on the criticism but said the department would strive to make more prisons environmental-friendly "as far as possible" in future.

Rights groups hailed the move to ease congestion The condition of a network when there is not enough bandwidth to support the current traffic load.

congestion - When the offered load of a data communication path exceeds the capacity.
 in prisons, although they distanced themselves from commenting on the high-tech green features.

"We welcome the government's move to improve the living conditions of inmates -- it is the government's responsibility to do that," Keith Wong, campaign manager for Amnesty International Amnesty International (AI,) human-rights organization founded in 1961 by Englishman Peter Benenson; it campaigns internationally against the detention of prisoners of conscience, for the fair trial of political prisoners, to abolish the death penalty and torture of  Hong Kong, told AFP.

"The government should provide housing to those who can't afford to rent a place to live, but we can't mix up the two issues because it is a basic human right to ensure prisoners live in a proper place," said the activist.
Copyright 2010 AFP Global Edition
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Author:Beh Lih Yi
Publication:AFP Global Edition
Date:Nov 14, 2010
Words:692
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