Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

MOJ's draft bill to benefit nearly 25,000 prisoners

MOJ's draft bill to benefit nearly 25,000 prisoners

The Ministry of Justice has sent a draft bill that would commute the sentences of prisoners convicted of minor offenses to the Executive Yuan for review in response to a directive given by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) last week.
About 25,000 prisoners would have their sentences cut by half, and many of them would be released after the bill is approved by the Legislature in the next couple of months, said Vice Minister of Justice Lee Chin-yung (李進勇).
Lee said the Ministry of National Defense has proposed a similar bill to reduce the sentences of those serving time in military prisons.
"The actual number of those who will benefit from such legislation will exceed 25,000," he said.
Under the measure, the number of prison inmates would be reduced by an estimated 39 percent - from 65,000 to 41,000 - Lee said.
According to the MOJ proposal, there are four kinds of prisoners whose sentences would not be reduced, including those convicted of violent crimes, major economic crimes, corruption and embezzlement of public funds, and other crimes that have damaged social order and public security, such as theft.
Lee predicted that the bill would be put into force in June, saying that only those who were convicted of crimes that took place before the end of April would be eligible to be granted amnesty are have their sentences reduced.
The president proposing the general amnesty last week in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the 228 Incident of 1947 and the 20th anniversary of the lifting of martial law in 1987.
The bill drew criticism from both opposition legislators, including those affiliated with the Taiwan Solidarity Union, the strategic ally of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party.
PFP Legislator Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞) criticized the DPP government for being careless in proposing such legislation without consulting opinion leaders and legal experts.
Lee warned that Taiwan's social order may deteriorate because of such careless legislation, which he said was aimed at helping the DPP win a few more votes as the two elections for the president and members of the Legislature drew near.
TSU legislative whip Kuo Ling-yung said the TSU would decide whether to support the bill after it had assessed its possible impact on Taiwan's social order.
"We will make a decision after consulting with people from all walks of life to see if society is ready to embrace 25,000 prison inmates who would be released in the next few months," he said
Kuomintang Legislator Wu Chih-yang described the proposed commutations as "unjustifiable," with Taiwan's social order continuing to deteriorate as the two national elections draw near. It is as absurd for Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) to say that commuting sentences is a viable solution to solve the problem of overcrowded prisons in Taiwan.
President Chen appears to have proposed the commutations in order to win the votes of certain prisoners and their family members, which may help the ruling party win in the two highly competitive elections, Wu said.


Updated : 2021-06-23 05:01 GMT+08:00