China is studying non-custodial penalties such as community service and correction programs, China Daily reported Monday, citing Justice Minister Wu Aiying.
The move is part of a broader effort to strengthen human rights protection.
“Compared with imprisonment, community programs will allow offenders to serve a more productive sentence,” Wu said.
Offenders convicted of minor crimes will be allowed to live with their families and will be monitored. China has about 697,000 offenders in community correction programs, up from 204,569 in 2009.
More than 1.8 million offenders have been put into correctional programs since its launch in 2003.
In November, the government abolished a penal system known as laojiao in which offenders underwent re-education through labor.
However, Wu said there is no link between abolishing the re-education system and the community correction program.
“To further protect human rights and carry forward China’s non-custodial system, we will continue to improve community corrections,” she said.
In 2003, the Supreme People’s Court, Supreme People’s Procuratorate, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Justice launched community programs in six pilot provinces. By 2005 it had been adopted in 18 provinces and regions.
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