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Guangdong to relocate its prisons
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08:29, January 06, 2009

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The prison network in Guangdong will be redeveloped in a bid to boost security and resolve logistical problems, an official said yesterday.

Fan Xiliang, from the provincial prison administration, told China Daily that by the end of next year, Guangdong will have a total of 26 prisons: 13 in the Pearl River Delta region, six in the north, three in the east, and four in the west.

"The majority of the province's existing prisons will be expanded, while those in remote areas will be relocated to urban areas to make them more accessible," he said.

"The redevelopment plan is designed to improve prison security and their overall environment so as to make them more conducive to the re-education of inmates and resolve some existing transportation issues," he said.

Guangdong currently has 25 prisons housing some 100,000 prisoners, more than any other province in the country, Fan said.

"Several prisons have been overfilled, while those in remote, mountainous areas regularly face problems relating to the provision of water, power, food or telecommunications in bad weather conditions," he said.

"This creates a serious security problem and it is always difficult to transport criminals to such prisons," he said.

Weng Ji, a lecturer at the Guangdong Justice Police Vocational College, said: "The redevelopment of the province's prison network has great social significance.

"Prisons are State machines to punish criminals, but they also have another important role: to reform and educate criminals so as to help them turn over a new leaf."

Relocating some of the prisons to city suburbs or other accessible places will make it more convenient for visiting family and friends, and provide a better environment for the reeducation of inmates, Weng said.

"They won't feel so abandoned by their families or society," he said.

As a result of its location, one prison in Guangzhou's Panyu district has forged long-term recruitment and occupational training agreements with more than 100 local firms, which has made it easier for inmates to find work on their release, he said.

"Without a job, released prisoners are more likely to revert to crime," he said.

Source: China Daily

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