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Study: 14,000 prisoners released early in China
Updated: 2004-09-12 14:21

An investigation by China's top judicial body discovered that 13,961 prisoners had their jail terms illegally reduced in the past four months.

The Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP) uncovered this during a study of the country's prison system. The SPP also found 3,875 prisoners had been illegally released on parole or received medical treatment on bail.

The SPP said it has redressed 4,331 of the cases, adding that 42 law enforcement officers have been found guilty in 35 cases concerning illegal jail term reduction.

Before launching the investigation, the SPP believed that some prison guards were accepting bribes from the prisoners in exchange for lightening their sentences.

The investigation's results have shown this to be true.

After the study is complete, the government will establish a long-term solution to fight the corruption in the judicial system, said a leading official of SPP.

Local judicial departments have been ordered to review the decisions they made leading to the early release of prisoners from May to September. But the SPP official said in some regions the review was only carried out on the paper without any actual progress.

He stressed that any irregularities uncovered during the review should be rectified, and those law enforcement officers found to have committed law-breaking offenses should be punished.

The nationwide inspection was launched this May by the SPP, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Justice, and will last until January 2005.

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