IV. Safeguard the Legitimate Rights and Interests of Detainees
We should further improve the conditions of prisons and detention houses, enhance scrutiny of supervisory activities and the execution of punishment, standardize commutation, parole, and execution of sentence outside prison, and stipulate that criminal defendants and appellants no longer need to wear clothing bearing the name of the detention house, so as to safeguard the detainees' personal dignity, safety, legal property, and legitimate rights including the rights to defense, to appeal, to complain, and to report violations of law.
Strengthen the construction and management of detention houses to safeguard detainees' personal safety. We must implement the new "Construction Standards for Detention Houses," replace shared beds with single beds, and define the construction standards and minimal per capita floor space in detention houses. We must strictly implement the system of physical examination upon admission, establish a long-term mechanism for preventing and combating prison bullies, adopt transition management over new detainees, and strictly forbid detainees from managing cells. We should strengthen the arraignment and interrogation system. When taking out a suspect from the detention house for identification - which must be done by no fewer than two investigators at a time - or recovering property related to a case, the case handling organs should hold a written instruction signed by the leading official of the organ above the county level which bears the legal causes for the investigation.
By the end of 2015, psychological counseling rooms had been built in 2,169 detention houses in China, and 2,207 detention houses had provided two-way video via the internet for those who serve their term of imprisonment in the detention houses. We should urge legal aid centers to locate in detention houses. More than 2,500 detention houses have set up offices for providing legal aid and consultation services to detainees and their families.
Standardize medical services and life management in prisons and detention houses to safeguard detainees' right to health. Detention houses should strictly follow the food supply quantity standard for detainees, which has been approved by local financial authorities. Meal standards, weekly menus and accounts should be posted in cells for supervision. Prisons should strictly follow the Regulations on Strengthening Management of Daily Life and Hygiene Work of Prisons, implement the prisoners' food supply quantity standard which was adjusted in 2013, practice food sampling and sample reservation, and implement the system of invitation for bidding for and procurement of daily necessities. We should strengthen management of daily life and hygiene work of prisons, and guarantee a scientific diet which is reasonably adjusted with fine management for prisoners while eliminating waste. We should take into consideration the special customs of ethnic minority prisoners, and provide special meals for those who are subject to dietary restrictions.
Prisons and detention houses should improve medical services for detainees, create medical records for them, staff them with stationed doctors, who make rounds of the cells every day, and transfer those who need to be treated in hospitals outside in a timely manner. Regulations on purchase, storage and use of medicines in prisons should be strictly followed. We should improve medical facilities, strengthen disease prevention and control, provide timely treatment to sick detainees, and guarantee their rights to life and health in accordance with the law.
The Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Justice and the National Health and Family Planning Commission jointly formulated the Regulations on Execution of Sentence Outside Prison, which came into effect on December 1, 2014. If persons serving sentences are injured or maimed while working during imprisonment, and are allowed to enjoy execution of sentence outside prison, the fees including their medical subsidies and living allowances outside the prison will be reimbursed in accordance with the relevant regulations of the state. Pregnant or lactating women, those who suffer severe illnesses and need to be released on bail for medical treatment, and those who cannot take care of themselves are also allowed to enjoy execution of sentence outside prison.
Enhance supervision over prisons and detention houses to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of detainees. To increase the transparency of their law enforcement, detention houses should open to the public on a regular basis. By 2015, a complaint handling mechanism for detainees had been installed in 2,610 detention houses, and 2,558 had employed special supervisors. Procuratorial organs supervise activities in detention houses such as health examinations upon entrance and temporary removal of detainees, with a view to preventing and rectifying illegal interrogation and forced confessions outside detention houses. We should strengthen supervision over the term of criminal detention and urge relevant departments to settle outstanding cases. In 2013, 4,459 detainees involved in outstanding cases had been in detention for more than three years, but the figure fell to six in 2015.
Standardize commutation, parole and execution of sentence outside prison and safeguard detainees' rights to implementation of penalty change. We must open prison affairs wider to the public, including the legal conditions, procedures and results of commutation, parole and execution of sentence outside prison. People's courts should improve online public notification and hearings, and open a national information network on commutation, parole and execution of sentence outside prison. From 2012 to 2015 people's courts adjudicated 2,406,100 commutation cases and 160,100 parole cases. Prisons and detention houses should carry out relevant procedures in a timely manner for those who are qualified to enjoy commutation, parole or execution of sentence outside prison in accordance with the law. People's procuratorates should strictly perform their supervisory duties so as to ensure the justice and fairness of penalty changes.
Implement national amnesty to highlight humanitarianism. On August 29, 2015, the 16th session of the 12th Standing Committee of the NPC approved the decision on amnesty for prisoners, and Chinese President Xi Jinping signed an amnesty decree, granting amnesty for four types of criminals who had been serving sentences according to effective judgments made by people's courts before January 1, 2015 and were no longer considered to be a danger to society on release. This was the eighth national amnesty since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949 and the first time since the adoption of reform and opening-up in 1978. It was a new approach to implementing the amnesty system stipulated in the Constitution, to implementing rule of law and highlighting humanitarianism, so it was of great political and legal significance. According to judgments made by people's courts, 31,527 prisoners were granted amnesty across the country. Those who were incapable of work, or had no job, no source of income, and no legal supporters were granted subsistence allowances so that they could better reintegrate into society.