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Taiwan - Morakot

Prisoners released early to help typhoon-struck communities

Article published on the 2009-08-31 Latest update 2009-08-31 13:40 TU

Damaged buildings beside the Tamali River, Taiwan, August 2009.(Photo: Reuters)

Damaged buildings beside the Tamali River, Taiwan, August 2009.
(Photo: Reuters)

From Tuesday Taiwan will release prisoners early to help with typhoon Morakot relief efforts. Officials say prisoners will be carefully screened to make sure they are no threat to society.

According to Taiwan's Ministry of Justice statistics, 1,802 prison inmates are eligible to apply for early release by paying fines. If they cannot afford the fines, they could apply for community service sentencing instead.

The community service-sentencing programme was introduced in January this year. It's an amendment to the prison code which allows people to swap jail time for community work.

It will only be available to prisoners who are sentenced to a maximum of six months in jail for petty crimes.

These people will be assessed and screened by prosecutors before they are released on probation.

Prisoners are expected to be sent to counties and cities in the south of Taiwan to help with reconstruction efforts, clearing roads and rivers of landslide debris, and helping the typhoon-struck communities.  

Typhoon Morakot left 571 people dead after hitting Taiwan in early August. It also caused death and damage in Japan and China.

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