Safety and stability boosted in prison system
Updated: 2014-08-14 07:03
By Zhang Yan (China Daily)
No prison escapes or deaths have been reported at China's jails since last year despite an increase in inmates convicted of violent crimes, the Ministry of Justice says.
This marks the best period for prison safety in recent years, according to the ministry.
"Faced with complex situations, we have taken effective measures to strengthen the standardization of management to ensure safety in the prison system," a ministry official who wished to remain unnamed told China Daily.
The official said that several years ago, there were tens of escapes or deaths in prisons each year.
The ministry says there are 1.7 million inmates in the prison system, a sharp increase from five years ago. The official declined to give the growth rate.
However, the number of violent crimes has risen sharply.
"Violent convicts" are those convicted of murder, rape, planning and organizing terrorist attacks or mafialike gangs, as well as those with serious criminal records.
"To ensure safety, we have reinforced alarm systems set up in prisons, including gates, walls with high voltage wires and detention houses," the official said.
He said supervision had been increased for dangerous convicts, including murderers, terrorists, corrupt officials and mafialike gang members. Disease prevention and treatment has also been strengthened.
Training has been stepped up for guards, who are learning how to stop bullying by prisoners and how to spot signs of criminal activity, the official said.
The ministry says that education reform and acquiring skills are crucial for prisoners.
"We will focus on the convicts' skills training and psychological counseling, to improve their skills and to prepare them for a smooth return to society," the official said.
All prisoners have been given psychological tests and counseling, with 60 percent of them awarded certificates for skills training on their release, the ministry says.
Li Lin, a member of the Beijing Lawyers Association who specializes in handling criminal cases, said the safety and stability of the prison system is conducive to protecting inmates' legitimate rights and is essential to the success of judicial reform.
She said prison guards should pay attention to providing psychological training for them, as well as reinforcing safety equipment and strengthening investigations.
(China Daily 08/14/2014 page1)