Robots likely to patrol Taiwan's prisons in future: Deputy Minister of Justice

Chen gave a press conference on prison reform progress Monday

  602
(Image courtesy of Pixabay)

(Image courtesy of Pixabay)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Deputy Minister of Justice Chen Ming-tang (陳明堂) said Monday Taiwan’s prisons are likely to see robotic patrol systems in the future, CNA reports.

The minister said a shortage in manpower will soon force Taiwan to seek the assistance of technology. Prisons will have to adopt a “smart model,” in which human patrol guards are replaced by robots and drones are used for extra surveillance purposes.

Chen made the comments during a press conference on Monday, when he presented the ministry’s third biannual progress report following the August 12 2017 Presidential Office National Conference on Judicial Reform.

The minister said the prison system is much more open now than it used to be, with a heavier focus on management and protecting inmate rights. While punishment used to be the end goal, a heavier focus is now given to reformative measures, and inmates are treated just like other nationals but in prison uniforms.

A draft amendment to the penal code is expected to pass through the Executive Yuan Council by March, before facing review in the Legislative Yuan.

A new “smart visitation” system that utilizes mobile technology, so older or disabled family members do not have to travel across the country to “visit” inmates, is also under implementation, Chen said.

New “smart” prisons will likely be designed in collaboration with the Ministry of Science and Technology, said Chen, as a shortage in manpower means Taiwan’s prisons will increasingly need to look towards technology and artificial intelligence.

The minister recalled 10 major projects that have been undertaken within the past six months including plans to strengthen victim protection, promote prison reform, promote legal amendments, and establish new supervision and procuratorial measures.