The Development of Judiciary Protection
I. Ex-convicts rehabilitation preludes judiciary protection
The implication of “Judiciary Protection” originated from the charity care provided to ex-convicts, initiated by folk society during the Japanese colony. After Taiwan’s restoration, the term “Judiciary Protection" proceeded. At the beginning non-governmental organizations offered ex-convicts care and help. On November 11, 1946, the government officially denominated above name to “Judiciary Protection of Taiwan Province” under the supervision of the Taiwan High Court and the Civil Affairs Department of Taiwan Provincial Government. In response to Taipei’s municipalities in 1967, it was renamed “the Taiwan After-Care Association”. In view of the incompleteness of Act, the former Department of Justice Administration therefore legislated the “Rehabilitation Protection Act” in 1975 and then entered it into effect in 1976. On November 11, 1976, thereupon the “Taiwan After-Care Association” was legally registered as a legal person named “the Taiwan Rehabilitative Protection Association.” On July 1, 1980 The Ministry of Justice was reorganized from the former Ministry of Justice Administration, and instituted “the Department of Prevention, Rehabilitation and Protection”, and established Fujian Rehabilitative Protection Association was established in the same year. Henceforth “Judiciary Protection” emerges.
II. Establishing the probation system to launch community correction
For the purpose of implementing the parole custody of adult ex-convicts, the Department of Prevention, Rehabilitation and Protection pushed forward the probation system and recruited probation officers under the supervision of prosecutors since 1982. Primarily probation officers were assigned in six District Court Prosecutor's Offices, like Taipei, Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Taichung and Tainan, and until 1983, in all district court prosecutor’s offices. Due to the deferred prosecution system’s amendment in the Criminal Procedure Law in 2002, probation officers are responsible for enforcing community service, supervising offenders to complete drug addiction treatment and psychotherapy and counseling or other appropriate treatments, inspecting offenders whether they recommit the offense. When the Criminal Law was amended in 1998, The Ministry of Justice referrer to community services carried on in Europe and America and enacted the Community Service System which is executed by probation officers along with the aids of probation assistants. Since then, the probation system for misdemeanors has gradually turns toward to community service instead of imprisonment.
III. Protecting crime victim and promoting restorative justice
To conform to modern criminal-policy’s trend as well as to stick to social justice, the Ministry of Justice enacted the Crime Victims Protection Act in 1998; in the following year the Crime Victim Protection Association and its local chapters were established to serve crime victims and their family. In order to strengthen protection, the law was amended in 1998 to include sexual assault victims into protection; later, according to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the law was amended again in 2011 to bring foreigners and stateless people in Taiwan into protected objects. In addition we adopt the world’s most widely used mode of victim and offender mediation (victim offender mediation, VOM) to map out a restorative justice pilot program since 2009, which could provide an opportunity for dialogue between victims and offenders. It is a humanistic alternative apart from the existing criminal justice system and considered as a major milestone in the development of judiciary protection.
IV. Crime prevention is the primary strategy of crime prevention
In the criminal justice process, the tasks of judiciary protection include crime prevention, recidivism controlling, and crime victim protection. In order to practice the primary major concept of crime prevention, the Ministry of Justice established the Crime Prevention Research Center in 1995 through cooperating with academic circles to engage in the study of delinquency, hoping to control the trends of all kinds of crime problems and looking for countermeasures on criminal issues. Owing to government reorganization, this work will be transferred to the Judges and Prosecutors Training Institute, Ministry of Justice in 2013. Based on crime prevention is an important part of judiciary protection tasks, we yet continuously instruct all district court prosecutors’ offices to construct “Juvenile Camp” since 2004 to build the first fence for the prevention of Juvenile delinquency. In 2009, " The Program of Crime Prevention and Law Education” was established to integrate systemic inter-ministerial communication platform for crime prevention. Furthermore, since advocacy and education of the law also play an important role in crime prevention, in order to enhance the comprehensive legal knowledge’s promotion, we have not only established diverse channels for legal advice and legal services, but also utilized website resource as well as combining social resources and mass media to propaganda aiming at important social issues especially related to “no drugs abuse”, “election anti-bribery” and “human rights and legitimate society”.
V. Constructing a local judiciary protection network
For delivering the real-time judiciary protection services for the public to access, since 2010 each district court prosecutor's office builds up step-by-step its own local judiciary protection network. Except the pre-existing District Court Prosecutor’s Office Service Center, Chapter of Rehabilitation Protection Association, and Institute for Crime Victims Protection Association Branch, the prosecution system has actively led the parole and probation system to affiliate with the public sector and civil society to establish “Judiciary Protection Strongholds". Since 2012, the district court prosecutor's office has established the “Judiciary Protection Center”, integrating its social and political resources by one-stop service, to aid offenders, crime victims, and their families during the criminal justice process.
In summary, the Department of Prevention, Rehabilitation and Protection administers the probation and parole services, crime prevention, the knowledge of law promotion ex-convicts rehabilitation, and crime victim protection. In response to social change as well as our tasks expansion and continuous law amendment over the last few decades, the protected objects has been increased. Today, the definition of “Judiciary Protection” has long gone beyond the traditional view, but being built up from the three dimensions of crime prevention, recidivism prevention, crime victim protection to five work spindles of crime prevention, the knowledge of law promotion, community correction, ex-convicts rehabilitation and crime victim protection. Since the network formed by the Judicial Protection Center of each district court prosecutor’s office, Chapter of Taiwan Rehabilitation Protection Association, Branch of Crime Victims Protection Association and local Judicial Protection Strongholds having provided comprehensive services to the public services, the “Judiciary Protection” has already occupied an important position in the criminal justice process post- prosecuting, trial, and penalty-execution.
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