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History of the Agency of Corrections

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  • Last updated:2018-10-31
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      The advent of the "Agency of Corrections" can be traced back to the period before the Ministry of Judicial Administration had even been established. In subsequent years, despite years of planning and management, the agency failed to operate properly. The draft for the "Organization Act for the Agency of Corrections, Ministry of Justice" was not formulated until Ching-Feng Wang's term as the Minister of the Ministry of Justice. It was submitted to Executive Yuan for review on January 26, 2010. After vigorous promotion by the former Minister (Yung-Fu Tseng), the draft was set forth for reviewed by the Executive Yuan floor conference on April 9, 2010. The draft passed the review resolution by the 3192nd floor conference on April 22, 2010, and was submitted to the Legislative Yuan for deliberation.
 

      While in the Legislative Yuan, legislators of the Judicial and Legal Joint Committee held 2 review conferences at the 5th conference period of the 7th session to review the draft. Review for the "Organization Act for the Agency of Corrections, Ministry of Justice" and "Draft Amendments for some Provisions of the Organic Law of the Ministry of Justice" submitted by the Executive Yuan was completed on May 31, 2010. On August 16, 2010, during the 2nd extraordinary meeting of the 5th conference period of the 7th session, the draft amendments for some provisions of the "Organic Law of the Ministry of Justice" and the draft of the "Organization Act for the Agency of Corrections, Ministry of Justice" were on the agenda for discussion. Party negotiations were completed on August 19, 2010, and the draft amendments for some provisions of the "Organic Law of the Ministry of Justice" and the draft of the "Organization Act for the Agency of Corrections, Ministry of Justice" was passed at the third reading. On September 1, 2010, the Act was promulgated through Presidential Order Decree Yi No. 09900224451 and was scheduled to officially take effect on January 1, 2011. The establishment of this act is attributed to the long-term hard work of the editors who provided revisions and corrections for its drafts. The entire promotion and development process of the Agency of Corrections are as follows:
 

◎ In the 32 year of the reign of Emperor Guang-Xu (1906), the Punishment Department, which was in charge of the national penalty decrees, was renamed the "Law Department," and a "Department of Prisons" was established under the Law Department. The various provincial prisons and training facilities were administered by 3 herbal doctors, 4 ministry councilors, and 4 chiefs of staff; who were in charge of the prisoners' roster, uniform, food, codified rules, statistics, and other matters.
 

◎ After the founding of the Republic, the Law Department was renamed the "Department of Justice" and the Department of Prisons was renamed as the "Prison Department" in accordance with the Provisional Constitution of the Republic of China. The first appointed director was Mr. Jing-Hua Tian. The Minister of Justice at that time, Mr. Shi-Ying Xu, paid considerable attention on the reform of the prison system, and stated, "We have improved the laws and the judging system, but failed to improve the prisons. That is why we were not able to achieve the objective of complete rule of law." Therefore, the Minister proposed a justice plan in the first year of the Republic of China at a Central Judicial Conference, which involved constructing more than 300 prisons, training more than 2000 prison officers, and completing the modernization of the prison system within 5 years.
 

◎ In 1927, the Northern Expedition succeeded, the National Government established the capital at Nanjingand implemented the five separation of powers system. In 1928, the Department of Justice was renamed the "Ministry of Judicial Administration." The Prison Department remained unchanged, but went under the administrative jurisdiction of the Ministry of Judicial Administration. The Prison Department was responsible for all matters regarding prisons.
 

◎ On July 1, 1980, the prosecution trial process was implemented, and the Ministry of Judicial Administration was restructured into the "Ministry of Justice" and the Prison Department was restructured into the "Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation," which is in charge of all matters regarding national crime prevention. At this time, although the Ministry of Justice had direct jurisdiction over the various judicial prisons, the actual implementation of the various legal matters was dependant on the contacts and communications of the various staff units. These units may sometimes have a different levels of awareness on the nature of the prison administration work and its importance, thereby affecting the primary staff units and preventing the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation from exerting its command and supervisory functions effectively. Moreover, prison and other crime prevention agencies continued to increase and the prison sentence services had become increasingly complex due to socio-economic structure changes. In order to address the changing situation, the institutions of advanced countries such as Japan, South Korea, the United States, and European countries were referenced, to propose the establishment a professional dedicated supervisory authority—the Agency of Corrections.
 

◎ The proposal to reconstruct the Department of Corrections into the Correction Bureau (agency) had been suggested by scholars as early as 1963. In November 1984, the Ministry of Justice formulated the draft for the "Ministry of Justice Correctional Service Organization Act," but the draft was withdrawn in the spring of 1985 due to the staff streamlining requirements and to further strengthen the features for this act.
 

◎ On July 9, 1990, the Ministry of Justice held a "Organic Law of the Ministry of Justice Draft Amendment Research" meeting. Former Director Mr. Hao Chen proposed the inclusion of Article 5-1, which states, "The Ministry of Justice may, depending on business needs, establish a Correction Bureau as prescribed by law." However, his proposal failed.
 

◎ On August 4, 1994, the Ministry of Justice held the 1994 prison seminar at the Correctional Training Center, and the Taipei Detention Center recommended that "a Correction Bureau be established to provide centralized monitoring of the administrative operations in order to provide institutional independence that is necessary for modem crime prevention." On September 3, 1994, legislator Wei-Gang Pan issued a written statement stating that to effectively promote prison innovation policy, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation under the Ministry of Justice should be restructured into the "Correction Bureau" as other advanced countries had done in order to establish full independence for the correctional system and to invest greater resources, manpower, and technology to strengthen the management of prisons and reformatory work. On October 4, 1994, the Ministry of Justice held a "Research on the Draft of General Rules for the Organization of Treatment Centers" meeting. During the meeting, special committee representative from the Office of Personnel Administration of Executive Yuan, Mr. Wei Xiang, indicated that "in terms of manpower, a treatment center should be under of the Correction Bureau of the Ministry of Justice."
 

◎ On January 18, 1996, Minister Ying-Jeou Ma of the Ministry of Justice indicated at the 635th report of critical ministerial issues, compilation No. 12, on the necessity and feasibility of the establishment of a "Correction Bureau," and requested the Department of Corrections to continue to gather data and produce research reports. On October 2, 1996, twenty-five legislators, including Feng-Hsi Lin, Chun-Hung Chang, Jun-Chuan Xie, and Hang-Lang Tsai, formulated "Article 5 Amendment Draft for the for the Organic Law of the Ministry of Justice" to propose to the Legislative Yuan that a Correction Bureau should be established. They advocated that prison administration work should be a segment of social work, which is the last stop for sentence execution and criminal deterrence. Investigations, trials, and execution should be performed by three separate agencies under the judicial system. The first two should be independent administrative systems. The correctional system still had not yet been upgraded to the "Correction Bureau," which caused correction facilities to unable to operate normally, reduced the morale of prison staffs, and obstructed the correction function from being fully realized. On October 25, 1996, legislator Jun-Xiong Zhang and 23 others formulated the "Draft Amendments for some Provisions of the Organic Law of the Ministry of Justice" because "in response to the rapid expansion of the prison service, the establishment of the Correction Bureau to integrate prison services and promote prison reform is urgently needed to enable the sound peripheral equipment required for the correction and the practical treatment of inmates." They again proposed that the "Department of Corrections" be restructured into the "Correction Bureau."
 

◎ On May 7, 1997, the Legislative Yuan held the 3rd session of the 3rd conference period legal hearing and the 7th joint meeting of two judicial committees. During the meeting, the Ministry of Civil Service did not object to the proposal to restructure the Department of Corrections into the Correction Bureau. The Central Personnel Administration did not have much differences in opinion, but only questioned the urgency of restructuring the Department of Corrections into the Correction Bureau in light of the Executive Yuan's efforts to push forth a downsizing policy in order to enhance national competitiveness. To this end, the Legislative Yuan made a resolution at the joint meeting of two judicial committees as follows: "In order to improve the prison institution and implement an efficient and linear leadership system, restructuring the 'Department of Corrections' into the 'Correction Bureau' is necessary." However, in light of the rapid expansion of government personnel and the increasing financial burden on the country, downsizing is required, and the nation cannot continue to operate under the status quo. To maintain the consistency with the spirit of the law and the continuity of the legal norm functions, the Legislative Yuan requested the Executive Yuan to review the prison policy immediately and propose a legislative plan related to tangible improvement measures within six month regarding the restructuring of the "Department of Corrections" into the "Correction Bureau" case, and to review the case regularly. In June of 1997, the Department of Corrections completed the research report for the "Necessity and Feasibility Study for the Agency of Corrections, Ministry of Justice, to be Restructured into the Correction Bureau (Agency)."
 

◎ In June 1999, the Research, Development, and Evaluation Commission of Executive Yuan commissioned National Chung Cheng University to conduct a "Penitentiary Policy Management and Assessment" study. The results of this study indicated that the government tended to attach more importance to investigations and trials, and has not paid equal attention to the correctional aspect of the criminal justice system. However, crime correction has developed into a professional discipline these days, and the establishment of an independent professional correctional agency (department) that oversees and coordinates various criminal correction operational matters was urgently needed.
 

◎ On March 19, 2004, legislator Dai-Hua Lin once again mentioned the proposal to restructure the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation into the Agency of Corrections during his visit to the Mingde Minimum-Security Prison. Although the proposal was later deferred, the "Agency of Corrections" case indeed met the needs of the current government operations and was expected by the public. In December 2004, Professor De-Hui Cai, chairman of the Chinese Correctional Association, Professor Shi-Long Yang, chairman of the Chinese Society of Criminology, and Assistant Professor Zheng-Kun Wu, secretary-general of the Chinese Society of Criminology, jointly published the paper "Professional Enhancement—Discourse on the Necessity for the Ministry of Justice to Establish the Correction Bureau (Department)" at the "2004 Asia-Pacific Crime Problem and Solutions Seminar" and urged the Ministry of Justice to restructure the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation into the Agency of Corrections.
 

◎ On January 27, 2005, the Minister of Justice, Mr. Ding-Nan Chen, formally showed his support for the establishment of the Agency of Corrections and indicated that subsequent planning would be actively implemented before his term ended. On February 1, 2005, after Minister Mr. Mao-Lin Shi took over, he also indicated his optimism for the establishment of the Agency of Corrections. On March 9, 2005, the "Legal Organization Restructuring Plan Report" Legal Zi No. 0941300719 submitted by the Ministry of Justice to the Organizational Restructuring Promotional Committee of the Executive Yuan officially integrated the Agency of Corrections of the Ministry of Justice in the plan (the report co-listed three agencies: Bureau of Investigation, Administrative Enforcement Agency, and Training Institute for Judges and Prosecutors).
 

◎ In March 2006, during the revision operation process of the Organic Law of the Ministry of Justice, the Executive Yuan temporarily integrated the Agency Against Corruption into the three agencies. Due to the crowding-out effect, the Agency of Corrections was left behind. Subsequently, the Ministry of Justice asked the Executive Yuan to withdraw the "Agency Against Corruption Organization Act Draft" to allow the Agency of Corrections to have priority. On June 29, 2006, the Criminal Law Foundation magazine agency held the "2006 Criminal Law New Thinking Seminar" in the justice building. Professor Shi-Long Yang of the Department of Criminology at National Chung Cheng University published the study "New Criminal Law Norms for Severe Punishment and the Correctional Treatment Principles of the Correctional Authorities." The study stated that corrections work is facing a trend of more severe punishments and challenges due to the surge of inmates serving long-term sentences. The research suggested that the correction's organizational structure reform must be given priority, and the aide-level Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation should be restructured into the Correction Bureau (Department) in order for the agency to effectively participate in leadership decisions, facilitate the long-term planning of the correction system, maintain the consistency of the corrective policy, and unite the efforts of the correctional officers.
 

◎ On May 28, 2008, the Crime Research Center of National Chung Cheng University held the "Death Penalty Abolition Seminar" and invited people form academia, government agencies, and private organizations to attend and participate in discussions. Those who attended the seminar; including professors Fu-Sheng Xu, Rui-Long Zheng, and Shi-Long Yang as well as a member of the Judicial Reform Foundation, Zhi-Guang Wu; all hailed that the government should attach importance to the crime correction work, and pledged their support to the establishment of the Agency of Corrections. On May 29, 2008, Minister Qing-Feng Wang again stressed that the increasing number of inmates housed in prisons has increased the urgency of expanding the administrative hierarchy of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation its responsibilities. He hoped to discuss the preparation planning deficiencies of the past, overcome difficulties, and expedite the process. The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation invited the nation's 49 heads of correctional institutions to a meeting held at the National Training Institute for Correctional Officers to discuss the Ministry of Justice's proposal to restructure the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation into the Agency of Corrections. All participants of this meeting showed their support for the proposal. The Department also invited personnel from Taiwan's High Prosecutors Office, Public Prosecutor, Legal Affairs, Legal Affairs Committee, the General Secretary, Government Ethics Unit, Personal Department, Accounting, and Statistics Department to attend a joint meeting to research the "Organization Act for the Agency of Corrections" and to promote the drafting of the Agency of Corrections Organization Bill. In the meantime, the Chief Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, Ming-Tang Chen, personally visited the Director of Accounting and the Central Personnel Administration Secretary of the Executive Yuan with the Director of the Department of Corrections, Deputy Director of the Department of Corrections, and the Deputy Directors of Personnel and Accounting to discuss the Agency of Corrections related matters. The responses received were all positive.
 

◎ On August 14, 2008, Undersecretary Chen-Huan Wu convened and chaired an inter-ministerial meeting and invited Professor De-Hui Cai of Ming Chuan University, Dean of Student Affairs Shi-Long Yang at National Chung Cheng University, Professor Yong-Shun Huang of Meiho University, the Judicial Yuan, the Ministry of Civil Service, the Research, Development, and Evaluation Commission of the Executive Yuan, the Central Personnel Administration, the Office of Budget and Accounting, and the correctional institutions and units of this agency in the hope of reaching a consensus to jointly promote the establishment of the Agency of Corrections. On August 21, 2008, Premier Liu of the Executive Yuan, Minister Wang of the Ministry of Justice, and Director Hsiao of the Department of Corrections inspected the operations of the Sindian Drug Abuser Treatment Center and the Taipei Detention Center. Premier Liu indicated optimism toward the future establishment of the "Agency of Corrections," and the Executive Yuan will fully help to promote the establishment. On October 6, 2008, the Ministry of Justice submitted the "Draft Amendments for some Provisions of the Organic Law of the Ministry of Justice" and the "Organization Act for the Agency of Corrections, Ministry of Justice" to the Executive Yuan.
 

◎ On April 22, 2010, the Executive Yuan passed the resolution at its 3192nd conference meeting to adopt the draft amendments for some provisions of the "Organic Law of the Ministry of Justice" and the "Organization Act for the Agency of Corrections, Ministry of Justice" draft, and submitted them the Legislative Yuan for deliberation. On August 19, 2010, The Legislative Yuan passed the draft amendments for some provisions of the "Organic Law of the Ministry of Justice" and the "Organization Act for the Agency of Corrections, Ministry of Justice" draft during the 3rd reading of the 1st extraordinary session meeting at the 2nd extraordinary meeting of the 5th conference period of the 7th session. On September 1, 2010, Presidential Decree Hua Zong Yi Yi Zi No. 09900224451 announced the establishment of the "Organization Act for the Agency of Corrections, Ministry of Justice."
 

      The establishment of the Agency of Corrections is the common aspiration of all prison officials. The process dates back to 1984, and was finally passed during the third reading at the centennial's eve of the nation after 20 years of setbacks and failures. This is a major event for our nation's correctional system and allows the criminal correctional system to move towards a new era. This Agency will hold the core values of "professional enthusiasm, righteous caring, pursuit of excellence, and innovative value" to enhance the effectiveness of the correctional professionals, protect human rights and justice, and continue to promote prison reform.

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