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`90 Percent of Parole Applications Approved`

Posted October. 08, 2009 07:37,   


Nearly 90 percent of parole applications for inmates are approved, a report submitted by the Justice Ministry to ruling Grand National Party lawmaker Lee Han-sung released yesterday said.

From 2004 through August this year, 8,820 prisoners convicted of sexual violence, murder and robbery were released before their prison terms expired.

Of 56,629 inmates aged 20 and above who applied for parole over the same period, 89.3 percent or 50,566 were released before completing their sentences.

Among them, con artists accounted for the largest share with 13,767, followed by traffic violators, draft dodgers, and those who committed violent acts. In particular, 8,820 people convicted of felonies such as sexual assault, robbery and murder were released on parole.

Given that the three felonies occur less frequently than other crimes, a relatively large number of felons were released on parole.

By contrast, the U.S. federal government since the early 1990s has banned parole examination committees from releasing criminals on parole at its own discretion. Sixteen states have also banned discretionary release of inmates.

The Korean Justice Ministry said in response, “Of those released from prison from 2002 to 2006, those released on parole accounted for 35.5 percent, lower than Japan’s 55.1 percent,” adding, “Parolees are selected from inmates who show good behavior. If well-behaved prisoners who are unlikely to commit crimes again are returned to society, this will benefit both the inmates and society as a whole.”

About 48,000 people are serving time at correction facilities in Korea.

On the man convicted of raping an eight-year-old girl known as Na-young, the ministry said, “He will serve his full sentence without parole.”

Cho yesterday was sent to Cheongsong Prison II, the most heavily guarded prison in the country. Cheongsong was set up in 1992 to incarcerate the most hardened felons.

President Lee Myung-bak said Monday that those who commit sexual crimes against children must be isolated from society.

bell@donga.com ceric@donga.com