China / Government

Convicts go back to jail after terms illegally cut

By Zhang Yan (China Daily) Updated: 2015-04-17 07:16

SPP details success of last year's effort to reverse unlawful changes in prison sentences

Thousands of people who had their prison sentences commuted illegally were sent back to prison last year, the Supreme People's Procuratorate said on Thursday.

Those who returned - 2,244 of them - were mostly wealthy people and corrupt officials, according to the SPP, and included 121 ex-officials at bureau-level. Among them were Hu Jianxue, former Party chief of Tai'an, in Shandong province, and Ding Zhenwu, former director of the public affairs bureau in Guangzhou, Guangdong province.

Most of the convicts were people who had received illegal commutations of their sentences and who had been released on parole or were serving their sentences outside of prison because of alleged illnesses, the SPP said.

The move came after an intensified nationwide judicial effort aimed at boosting fairness and credibility. The effort, which began in March of last year and ran through December, examined grants of reduced sentences and conditional releases.

"In addition to their own active investigations, prosecutors also received a number of tipoffs through the public and media," said Yuan Qiguo, director at the SPP's prison management bureau.

He said that last year, the prosecuting departments received a total of 850 tips involving illegal commutations, conditional releases or serving of sentences outside of prison.

"We have examined more than 200 pieces of information and are working on analyzing and verifying another 600 clues," he said.

Figures from last year, provided by the SPP, show that prosecutors asked national courts to withdraw 60 verdicts involving sentence reductions and to cancel 15 conditional releases.

Under the Criminal Law, if convicts behave well or are credited with "meritorious achievements", including such things as inventions or technological innovations, they are eligible for commutations.

If inmates are diagnosed with serious illnesses, such as cancer, heart disease or high blood pressure and are unable to serve their terms in prison, they can apply to serve their sentences outside so they can receive medical treatment.

After conducting initial investigations, prison departments will submit applications for new judgments to local courts for inmates who received concessions. Commutations of sentences can take effect with court approval.

Zhou Wei, deputy director at the SPP's prison management bureau, said 252 law enforcement officers were investigated. The officers were suspected of abusing power or neglecting their duty in helping inmates obtain illegal commutations in exchange for bribes.

He said it's necessary for judicial authorities to establish an online platform to share commutation-related information in a timely manner.

Convicts go back to jail after terms illegally cut


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