To reinforce international ties and trends, the MJAC in conjunction with the Taiwan Society of Criminology, invited Professor Hans-Jörg Albrecht, director of Germany's Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law, to give a lecture, “Responding to Overcrowding in Prison Systems”, which was held from 10:00 – 12:00 on April 25, 2014 at the third-floor lecture hall.
Many countries are facing challenges associated with prison overcrowding. There are 102 audiences have participated Professor Albrecht's lecture, both from the Agency and from our subsidiary departments. In this lecture, Professor Albrecht pointed out that prison populations change with different criminal enforcement policies, number of people serving long sentences, discretion of judges, and economic factors (such as GDP). Professor Albrecht's research also shows that there is a significantly positive correlation between the number of people in custody and in prison. In addition, a correctional facility should ideally house no more than 400 inmates. He offered high praise for the Agency's correctional institutions for their outstanding achievements in rehabilitation and life skills training despite inmate overcapacity and understaffing of guards.
Director Wu said in his remarks that the problem of prison overcrowding poses an unprecedented challenge for the country's system. When taking measures to solve these challenges, he said that the MJAC must learn from other country's experiences in addition to our own situation and criminal policies. Only adapting to international trends Taiwan's prison system can work towards more professional and internationally-accepted treatment measures. Chairman Teng Huang-fa of the Chinese Society of Criminology also said that inmate management has grown more difficult as society has placed more emphasis on human rights. The lecture is an opportunity for the Agency to brainstorm new ideas with academics in criminology-related fields to devise feasible, effective solutions.
After the lecture, Director Wu accompanied Professor Albrecht and Professor Georg Gesk of the Hsuan Chuang University Law School on a tour of the Taipei Prison. The professors assessed the correctional institution's outstanding performance in security, rehabilitation, and life skills training despite the overcrowded conditions, providing the perfect closing to Professor Albrecht's visit and making this a highly successful event.