MOJ Opinion on Deepening Transparency in Prison Work

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All provincial, autonomous region, or directly governed municipality Justice Departments (Bureaus), the Justice Bureau for the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, and prison administration bureau:

The following Opinion on further deepening openness in prison affairs is hereby issued on the basis of the "People's Republic of China Prisons Law" and other relevant laws and regulations taken together with the actual experiences in prison work, so as to deeply put into place and carry out the spirit of the 18th Party Congress's third and fourth plenary sessions, to put into place and carry out the Party Center's requests and deployment for deepening reform of the justice system, to further increase the level of transparency in prison law enforcement, promote fairness and justice in law enforcement, and increase the credibility of law enforcement.

I. Further raising awareness of the principal significance of deepening openness in prison affairs

1. openness in prison affairs is an important constituent part of enforcing criminal punishments, it is a concrete manifestation of prisons performing their duties in accordance with law and accepting oversight. Since October 2001, when the Ministry of Justice decided to pursue openness in prison affairs for the national prison system, all areas' disclosure of the bais, process and conclusions of prison law enforcement, and conscientious acceptance of social supervision, have cause the masses to truly get a feeling for the strictly regulated, fair and civilized, image of law enforcement. In recent years, a few ares have have also developed pilot projects on deepening openness in prison affairs, increasing the actual efficacy of openness in prison affairs by further deepening the content of disclosure, innovating methods of disclosure, expanding channels for disclosure, and comprehensively creating a sunshine law enforcement system; receiving widespread interest and approval from all aspects of society. At the same time, it should also be observed that the overall level of openness in prison affairs can be improved upon, especially in that areas such as the content, means and working mechanisms for disclosure are not in line with the social and economic development and the masses' new expectations. The 18th Party Congress and its third and fourth plenary sessions raised clear requirements for improving judicial openness and promoting openness in prison affairs; making openness in prison affairs a major task of deepening reform of the justice system. The results and experience of efforts on openness in prison affairs also demonstrate that truly deepening openness in prison affairs is an important measure for carrying out the spirit of the 18th party congress and its third and fourth plenary sessions and deepening reform of the justice system; it is urgent requirement of governing prisons in accordance with law and promoting the establishment of a peaceful China under the rule of law; and it is an effective path for ensuring that prisons perform their duties in accordance with law, standardizing law enforcement activity, and raising the professional character and level of law enforcement of prisons' people's police. All levels of prison organ should further recognize the importance of openness in prison affairs, strengthening their sense of responsibility and urgency, pioneering and innovating in the spirit of reform and opening one's minds, adopting effective measures and truly deepening all aspects of work on openness in prison affairs.

II. Guiding thought and principles for further deepening openness in prison affairs

The guiding thoughts for further deepening openness in prison affairs are: Earnestly carry out and implement the spirit of the 18th Party Congress and it's third and fourth plenary sessions, implement the , to put into place and carry out the Party Center's requests and deployment for deepening reform of the justice system, follow the principle of disclosure as the norm and non-disclosure as an exception, strengthen proactive disclosure, actively accept social supervision; and further deepen the content of disclosure focussing on the interests of the public, convicts and their families, and key areas or hot topics, of the prison law enforcement field; innovate new means and methods for disclosure, establish and improve working systems, use modern information procedures to ensure that all aspects of disclosure are realized; truly promote disclosure of law enforcement content, methods, systems and services; promoting fairness through openness.

Further deepening of openness in prison affairs shall abide by the following principles:

(1) The principle of disclosure in accordance with law. The content and procedures of relevant laws, regulations and rules should be strictly followed in disclosing relevant law enforcement information to the public, convicts and their close relatives. Information involving state secrets, work secrets, and personal information must not be disclosed, as well as law enforcement information that might obstruct normal law enforcement activities or impact social stability.

(2) The principle of timeliness and accuracy. Information and affairs that shall be lawfully disclosed, should all be promptly disclosed with the legally prescribed period by convenient and speedy means, ensuring that the content is objective, true, and accurate.

(3) The principle of strengthening oversight. Strengthen internal oversight, lawfully accepting supervision of the procuratorates, conscientiously accepting supervision from people's congresses and political consultative conferences as well as social supervision; ensuring the sustainable and healthy development of openness in prison affairs.

III. Further deepening openness in prison affairs

4. Prison organs shall further deepen disclosure of content on prison affairs based on the different requirements of groups such as the public, the close family of convicts, and convicts.

5.Prisons must disclose the following information to the general public:

(1) Prisons' nature, tasks, duties and scope of authority.

(2) The rights, duties and discipline requirements of prison police.

(3) channels and methods for reporting and filing complaints against prison organs and prisons police in enforcing the law or management work.

(4) the statutory requirements and procedures for the imprisonment and release of criminals;

(5) the basic rights and obligations of criminals.

(6) The means and ways for convicts to make appeals, accusations and inform against others.

(7) Requirements, procedures and consequences of convicts receiving commutation or parole, and written recommendations from prisons to people's courts requesting a convict be given commutation or parole.

(8) the statutory requirements, procedures and outcomes for criminals to provisionally serve sentences outside of prison, and the document containing the decision about provisional service of sentences outside of prison.

(9) the handling procedures and outcomes where criminals commit a further offence within the prison;

(10) behavioral rules for the conduct of prisoners while serving a sentence;

(11) the requirements and procedures for evaluating whether criminals have exhibited signs of reform;

(12) the requirements and procedures for assigning grades to prisoners;

(13) Requirements and procedures for convicts receiving awards such as commendations, merits or material awards.

(14) Requirements and procedures for convicts receiving sanctions such as warnings, demerits or confinement.

(15) Requirements and procedures for meritorious service and major meritorious service by convicts.

(16) the requirements and procedures for communications and visits for criminals;

(17) the requirements and procedures for criminals leaving the prison to visit relatives or having special permission to leave the prison;

(18) Conditions relating to ideologic, cultural and occupational technology education.

(19) Conditions relating to convict work programs, on-job-training, work times, labor protections and compensation.

(20) Conditions relating to convict meals, quality standards for clothing and bedding, food safety, and disease prevention and control.

(21) circumstances of the handling and investigation of major incidents in prison law enforcement and management;

(22) rules, laws and regulations for prison work;

(23) content required to be made public according to laws, regulations, rules and other normative documents;

6.In addition to the content disclosed to the public, prisons shall also lawfully disclose personal information on prisoners' sentence to his close relatives. Content to be disclosed includes:

(1) The name, address and contact information for the prison.

(2) methods for managing objections to recommendations by prisons for commutation, parole or provisional service of sentence outside the prison.

(3) the outcomes of a prison's grade assignments, evaluations, and reward/penalties for a criminal as well as methods for handling protests at the result.

(4) the results of a criminal's meritorious service or major meritorious services, as well as methods for handling complaints at the outcome;

(5) Outcomes of prisoners communications and meetings , trips outside prison to visit family or specially permitted trips outside prison

(6) The outcomes of convicts participation in cultural or professional technical education, social self-education tests and evaluations.

(7) Conditions such as convicts engaging in work programs, compensation for jobs and labor, work skills and performance, and evaluation of work performance.

(8) Conditions regarding the convict's food and sundries expenses and payments from their personal money account.

(9) The convict's state of health and physical examination outcome, as well as diagnosis and treatment of illnesses.

(10) Other information that prisons feel must be disclosed to convicts close families.

7. For disclosures to convicts, in addition to the content disclosed to the public and to convicts' families, during the process of prison punishments and management, prisons and sub-wards shall also fully disclose to convicts the legal basis, procedures, and outcomes as well as the process for handling dissatisfaction with the outcome or objections; however information involving state secrets, work secrets and convicts' personal information must not be disclosed.

8. Information disclosed to the public in accordance with law should be disclosed in a manner that facilitates the public's learning of it. Information involving the conditions of a convicts' serving his sentence may lawfully be given to convicts or their close relatives, and may also be disclosed on the basis of an application of the convict or his close relatives in accordance with law. All areas shall summarize actual conditions to establish and complete procedures for disclosure in response to applications, clarifying specific requirements for all stages such as the acceptance, review, disposition and response to applications for disclosure, to ensure that applications for disclosure by convicts and their close relatives are properly handled.

IV. Further innovate means and methods for openness in prison affairs.

9.Continue adhering to and improving aid from news media, simultaneously using traditional methods of disclosure such as internal prison publicity, launching inquiries into prison affairs, printing "Handbooks on Openness in Prison Affairs"; and also use contemporary information technology to innovate new methods for disclosure, expand channels for disclosure and make it so that the families of convicts and public can more conveniently and quickly get information disclosures.

10. Disclosure to convicts may be through openness in prison affairs bulletin boards, a prison newspaper, internal prison broadcasts, closed circuit television, electronic display screens, convict education networks and other such methods; to promptly disclose information on relevant to convicts' studies, lives, and work; and may also use openness in prison affairs information and inquiry terminals established within the prison to bring about automated inquiries into convicts' scoring and asessment, graded treatment, administrative awards and punishments, modification in enforcement of criminal punishments, and other important information on serving a sentence.

11. Disclosure to convicts' families may be through setting up electronic display screens in meeting areas and openness in prison affairs information and inquiry terminals, to provide inquiry services; they may also establish openness in prison affairs hotlines to promptly resolve questions that convicts' families have about prison law enforcement management; and may also use cellphone text-messaging, WeChat and other contemporary information measures to promptly release information relevant to the reformation of the prisoner serving a sentence.

12. Disclosure to the public may be through new media such a website portals, government affairs microblogs, and public WeChat platforms to increase the impact of openness in prison affairs and its ability to influence public opinion; it may also be through means such as convening law enforcement briefing meetings, actively explaining circumstances of prison law enforcement management and protections of lawful rights and interests to social figures and law enforcement supervisory personnel, and hearing their comments and suggestions.

V. Further improve systems for work on openness in prison affairs.

13. Implement a system for informing convicts of their rights and obligations. After a convict enters prison, the prison shall use methods such as prison admission orientation classes, giving out prisoner guidebooks or written notices of rights and obligations to inform convicts of the rights they enjoy and the obligations they shall fulfill.

14. Strengthen the system for announcements. Announcements shall be strictly made about convicts' evaluation and classification, graded treatment, administrative awards and punishments, meritorious and major meritorious service, requests for commutation or parole, and handling of temporary service of sentence outside of prison. Where there are objections to the announcement, a review shall be promptly conducted and notification given about the results.

15. Complete the system of law enforcement people's supervisors. Announcements shall be strictly made about convicts' evaluation and classification, graded treatment, administrative awards and punishments, meritorious and major meritorious service, requests for commutation or parole, and handling of temporary service of sentence outside of prison. Where there are objections to the announcement, a review shall be promptly conducted and notification given about the results.

16. Establish and improve work systems for website portals and law enforcement case handling platforms. The prison management bureaus and justice departments (bureaus) of all provinces (regions, municipalities), shall set up a website portal, and all information that is to be disclosed to the public shall all be disclosed and released on the website portal, gradually developing online consultation and automated inquiry functions, making the website portal an important medium for creating deeper openness in prison affairs. The establishment of platforms for handling convict's commutation or parole and temporary service of sentences outside of prison should be further strengthened, gradually realizing online input, handling, disclosure, supervision and evaluation of penal enforcement.

VI. Further strengthen organizational leadership

17. The prison management bureaus and justice departments (bureaus) of all provinces (regions, municipalities), should actively report to the party and government, striving for the party committees and governments concern and emphasis on efforts to deepen openness in prison affairs. Actively communicate with relevant departments to gain their support and cooperation. The requirements of this "Opinion" should be followed, combined with the actual local conditions, to earnestly research the formulation of a specifc implementation plan, actively and prudently promoting the orderly development of efforts to deepen openness in prison affairs.

18. The prison management bureaus and prisons of all provinces (regions, municipalities), should seperately establish a working committees on openness in prison affairs, with principle leaders presiding and departments with relevant functions participating, clarifying the departments that will take the lead and specifically take responsibility for organizing and coordinating all aspects of deepening openness in prison affairs. The working procedures for openness in prison affairs and departmental responsibilities should be clarified, to establish and complete mechanisms for evaluating openness in prison affairs work, and periodically organizing speical oversight and leadership inspections, making the actual efficacy of work on openness in prison affairs a major standard in appraising the work performance of management and individuals at all levels. Activities for creation of civilized windows for openness in prison affairs should be initiated, promptly including work experiences that can be reproduced and expanded upon. Newspapers, television, broadcast radio, the internet and other news media should be fully utilized, to broadly promote the effect and experience of openness in prison affairs efforts, and create a posive social environment and public opinion atmosphere.

Ministry of Justice

April 1, 2015

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