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Court streamlines reduced sentences, paroles

By Cao Yin | China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-24 07:53

China's information-sharing platform for handling parole applications and sentence commutations was launched on Thursday, with the aim of improving judicial transparency and reducing trivial matters in legal systems.

The platform not only helps Chinese courts collect and locate information but serves as a bridge to connect courts, prosecutors and prisons, according to the Supreme People's Court.

"Prison management departments can record the performance of inmates and submit applications and other materials for commutation or parole to courts using the platform. That will save a lot of time and can ensure that each procedure is regulated," said Xia Daohu, chief judge of the trial and supervision tribunal of the top court.

After the applications come to the court, he said, "Judges can read, file and hear the cases through video on the platform and disclose judgments to the public. It's a way to increase our work efficiency and allow public supervision."

If prosecuting authorities find that judges have improperly dealt with cases or do not approve applications, they can provide advice or intervene, Xia said.

"The platform can also ease the burden on judges caused by the rising number of parole or commutation cases, giving them more time to study case hearings instead of spending their energy on trivial administrative matters," he added.

Chinese courts handle more than 600,000 cases of paroles and sentence reductions each year, with many provincial high people's courts and intermediate people's courts tackling more than 5,000 a year.

"That's why we urgently established the e-platform," Xia said, adding that it will cover all courts nationwide by the end of this year.

Wang Jinyi, director of the prison management bureau at the Ministry of Justice, applauded the online service. He said it contributes to making judicial work and procedures more transparent and regulated.

In the past, information on inmates' parole or commutations was shared independently between prisons, courts and prosecuting authorities.

"But now we have integrated the sources, and related messages can be exchanged efficiently," said Zhou Wei, deputy director of the criminal enforcement department of the Supreme People's Procuratorate.

He added that prosecutors nationwide are learning how to use the platform "hoping it can improve the prosecuting system next year."

caoyin@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily 11/24/2017 page5)

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