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United Daily News: Hostage crisis exposes problems in prisons

United Daily News: Hostage crisis exposes problems in prisons

The hostage crisis at Kaohsiung Prison earlier this week exposed problems in the country's judicial and prison management systems, which deserve the attention of the relevant sectors. First, the prison is understaffed, with more than 2,000 inmates to 200 officers. The fact that six inmates could so easily take prison officers hostage under the pretense of seeking medical attention shows that there are big loopholes in the prison management. It was obviously due to such loopholes that the inmates were able to obtain a pair of scissors as their first weapon. The second problem involves the privileges enjoyed by politicians and businessmen in prison. Former President Chen Shui-bian, for example, was given highly preferential treatment in prison and was granted medical parole. The human rights of other inmates, however, were ignored, leading to widespread discontent among them. The third problem concerns the practice of assigning alternative servicemen to work in prisons. It is improper to allow alternative servicemen, most of whom are inexperienced young graduates, to work in a prison because it not only puts them in a dangerous situation but also leaves a loophole in the prison management. At Kaohsiung Prison, alternative servicemen were the main targets because the hostage-takers knew they were the weakest link. Another problem was the failure to clear the media from the scene. A media drone equipped with a camera was mistaken by the hostage-takers as a police aircraft, and they began to shoot at it. Such incidents will only provoke hostage-takers and endanger the lives of hostages. (Editorial abstract -- Feb. 13, 2015) (By Y.F. Low)


Updated : 2021-09-23 04:07 GMT+08:00