Security ministry: Prisoners should be allowed to work outside jail

By Hoang Thuy   January 10, 2019 | 10:34 pm PT
Security ministry: Prisoners should be allowed to work outside jail
Prisoners wait for the start of a ceremony to announce their presidential amnesty at a prison in Hanoi on August 31, 2015. Photo AFP/Hoang Dinh Nam
Selected prisoners should be allowed to work outside prisons, Ministry of Public Security officials said at a meeting Thursday.

Prisons should be allowed to collaborate with businesses to set up production facilities and specialized places outside prisons, which would allow the prisoners to work or undergo apprenticeship, they said at the meeting with the legislative National Assembly's (NA) Standing Committee.

The prisoners would be selected based on their crimes and behavior, they said.

Minister of Public Security To Lam said this is aimed at "rehabilitating prisoners and making them good citizens."

Prisons run by the ministry are unable to attract enough investment to enable prisoners to work or be trained properly since most are located in areas with poor socio-economic status and not well connected to roads, he said.

While prisons do cooperate with businesses to let prisoners work or be trained, they are often limited to manual labor like farm work and clothing or food processing inside prisons, which creates little economic value and requires the government to spend money on facilities and machinery, he explained.

The ministry has decided to let 24 of its 54 prisons allow their inmates to work and undergo apprenticeship outside on a trial basis in cooperation with local businesses, he said.

These workplaces are located inside the businesses facilities, which are away from residential areas and surrounded by walls and fences, allowing better management, he said.

Both the ministry and the Judicial Committee have approved it, but the method needs to be voted on by the National Assembly's Standing Committee for it to become law.

Nguyen Hanh Phuc, chairman of the NA Office, said the prisoners’ workplaces should be situated far away from residential areas for proper management and preventing social problems, especially drug trafficking.

NA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan said the policy, should it be made into the law, must guarantee that the prisoners are treated properly and paid fairly.

According to the ministry, out of the 7,000 prisoners selected to work outside jail on a trial basis, only one escaped.

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