According to a Dong-A Ilbo analysis of investigations and crime statistics from the Supreme Court Judicial Almanac and the Supreme Public Prosecutors Office, the rate of people arrested during investigations (the number of the arrested out of the total number prosecuted) increased from 7.3% in 1995 to 3.2% in 2004.
The number of people charged after prosecutors investigation while in custody decreased from 66.5% to 31.1% during the same period. On the other hand, the rate of people charged without arrest has more than doubled from 33.5% to 68.9%.
Many more suspects are being investigated and tried without being arrested, but their rate of jail sentences in District Court actually dropped from 23.6% in 1995 to 20.5% in 2004.
One senior prosecutor with the Seoul District Prosecutors Office said, If there are more investigations without arrests and the courts are not sentencing jail terms, then some may start worrying about the nations criminal justice system.
During the same period, the crime rate (number of crimes committed every 100,000 people) increased 37.8% from 3,108 in 1995 to 4,283 in 2004.
There is no direct correlation between the increase in investigations without arrest and the increase in crime rate, but there is a controversy arising on the issue in legal circles.
One District Court judge said, The crime rates are increasing every year in America too, where punishments are severe for crimes. It is unreasonable to connect the increase in investigations and trials without arrest, the decrease in jail sentences, and the rise in crime rate.
However, one senior judge on the Seoul High Court said, If crime is soaring while there is an increase in investigations and trials without arrest, then the relationship between the two factors should be looked into thoroughly. It should be found out whether the punishments for crimes are sufficient.