Ex-prisoners need more help

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VietNam News English - 40 month(s) ago 4 readings

Lt-General Cao Ngoc Oanh, director of the Department for Criminal Enforcement, spoke with the Thoi bao Ngan hang (Banking Times) about a decision to help prisoners re-integrate into society.

Has Government Decree 80 been developed to ensure reintegration of prisoners after finishing their jail sentences to reduce the reoffending rate?

Yes, it has. The reoffending rate in Viet Nam is quite high, about 28-30 per cent. There are tens of thousands of crimes caused by ex-prisoners each year. So, law enforcement units and society have responsibilities to reduce the figure. We studied and mapped out the decree with the expectation to reduce reoffending. This will help reduce the number of criminals as well as the seriousness of the crimes. Moreover, effective prevention could create a more peaceful and safer society.

Under the decree, do authorities at all levels play key roles in managing prisoners after they finish their sentences?

A highlight in the decree is to improve the management of released prisoners. The decree also mentions measures for those who are about to finish their sentences. Accordingly, they will attend in-prison training courses on life skills, law and good behaviour.

The decree asks authorities at all levels, socio-political organisations, civil societies and the community not to discriminate against released prisoners.

One more important point in the decision is the economic institutions' responsibility to the released prisoners. Employment can help them lead stable lives and prevent them from backsliding.

Last but not least, public security is responsible for managing and co-operating with other sectors to help the released prisoners reintegrate into community.

This is a difficult and complicated task that needs determination and the joint effort of all relevant parties. However, I believe that we can do it. We have accumulated experiences to raise public awareness and support for released prisoners. We also have initiatives and effective models in some localities to support them but until now we have lacked the legal basis. The decree is considered a milestone that provides legality for relevant parties to exercise their rights, responsibility and obligations.

How does the decree tackle the issue of employment for prisoners who complete their sentences?

Ministries of Public Security, Finance and Investment and Planning, as well as relevant bodies, are assigned to develop detail regulations on the issue. In addition, prisons also organise job orientation activities, offer job training courses and grant certificates to prove the learners' skills.

Good models can be seen at many prisons, including those in central Thanh Hoa Province or in northern Phu Tho Province.

What do you think about reoffending rate of economic crimes?

There are many types of economic crimes but a majority of economic criminals have better conditions to reintegrate into community than others. So, the rate of reoffending among them is usually low except for those involved in counterfeit money.

In prisons, economic criminals help prison guards manage prisoners in jails and workshops because they strictly follow prison regulations and get on well with other prisoners.

After completing their sentences, many economic criminals work and lead good lives. Some of them raise funds to support released prisoners or offer them jobs. In yearly meetings with former prisoners and their families, many entrepreneurs who used to be in prisons committed to employing prisoners after they finished their sentences.

The decree takes effect next month. What preparations have been carried out for the decree's implementation?

The Ministry of Public Security is working with relevant bodies to design legal instructions so that localities can implement the policy consistently and the public understand their rights as well as the humanity of the policy. The ministry has measures to co-operate with other ministries and sectors to deliver support even when beneficiaries are still in prisons. — VNS

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