Purpose and Framework
This study evaluates the human rights competencies of Korean prisons and detention centers (including military detention facilities) in specific areas of correctional treatment. The competency model used in this study classifies competencies in three categories: institutional competency, physical competency, and personnel competency. The human rights competencies of a penal institution can be defined as follows: a combination of institutional, physical, and human resources to prevent possible invasion of inmates’ human rights during penal procedures and enable them to maintain their dignity as humans and exercise their rights.” (i) The institutional competency of a penal institution is concerned with the penal laws and their enforcement rules and decrees, and the systematicity and concreteness of the guidelines regarding tasks posing risks of human rights issues. (ii) The physical competency of a penal institution means the financial and organizational resources for securing sufficient physical facilities, equipment, and materials required for management and treatment of inmates and improving the physical environment. (iii) The personnel competency of a penal institution is concerned with how familiar correctional officers are with the laws, case laws, and decisions regarding law enforcement (knowledge), how they put the knowledge to practice as they perform their duties (skills), and whether they have the will to understand and actively address inmates’ needs and situations (attitude).
This study uses this framework to evaluate the competencies of penal institutions regarding human rights issues arising from penal processes and comprehensively review whether penal institutions offer proper protection of inmates’ human rights. Based on the findings, this study discusses some of the issues with correctional treatment in Korea and propose microscopic and macroscopic improvements. The improvements are informed by efforts in other\ countries to enhance the human rights competencies of penal institutions.
The following paragraphs summarize the discussions in each chapter of the study.
Chapter 2 Issues for Human Rights Competency Evaluation of Penal Institutions
Chapter 2 analyzes the quasi-judicial decisions and practices, press reports, and academic discussions to identify issues for human rights competency evaluation of penal institutions. Firstly, in order to identify penal issues from inmates’ voices, this study analyzes the following: NHRC decisions regarding detention facilities (260 decisions, from November 2011 to October 2019); inmates’ petitions filed with the Minister of Justice pursuant to Article 117 (1) of the Administration and Treatment of Correctional Institution Inmates Act (1,516 decisions over the last 2 years), and; the findings of the annual Detention Facility Survey by the MOJ under the Rules on the Survey of Detention and Protection Facilities (surveys from 2010 to 2018, including 8 visits and questionnaire surveys). This study also analyzes press reports on human rights conditions at correctional facilities, to seek out the issues that caught public attention. To that end, the author collected 111 reports related to human rights protection at penal institutions from five major daily newspapers (Kyunghyang, Donga, Chosun, Joongang, and Hankyoreh) over the last decade, and grouped them under different areas of correctional treatment for analysis. This study also analyzes academic discussions regarding the human rights competencies of penal institutions, to understand what criticisms and proposals of improvement have been raised in which areas of human rights competencies. To that end, the author analyzed and classified the discussions in 298 academic papers (from 2001 to 2019) regarding human rights protection at penal
institutions. Through these analyses, this study proposes key issues regarding the human rights competencies of penal institutions.
Chapter 3 Evaluation of Institutional Elements of the Human Rights Competencies of Penal Institutions
Chapter 3 analyzes the institutional competency of penal institutions based on the laws and policies to prevent human rights violations and provide remedies for violations that may occur as institutions operate and perform their duties. The purpose of the evaluation is to promote protection of inmates’ human rights by verifying whether the laws and policies conform to the international standards.
Even though some studies attempted evaluation of specific items under the international norms, these evaluations were conducted several years before, and the international norms and systems have changed since. The situation warrants the need for an accurate evaluation of the changed standards and the current system to bring the current laws, policies, and practices closer to the international standards and identify improvements required to promote protection of inmates’ human rights.
The analysis items regarding institutional competency were restricted to the items rated “largely conformant,” “insufficient,” or “poor” in the evaluation of conformance to international standards in Effective Measures to Advance Corrections and Rehabilitation for Reducing Recidivism(Ⅲ), a 2014 report published by the Korean Institute of Criminology (KIC). A review of the items rated “good” in 2014 did not show any significant change. Therefore, this study evaluates whether the current systems and laws related to penal institutions are sufficient to protect the human rights of inmates and staffs at penal institutions based on the changes in administrative rules since 2014, the provisions not analyzed in 2014, and recommendations of the NHRC. As a result, the author arrived at 40 evaluation items: 12 items for maintenance of order; 8 items for treatment of convicted inmates; four items for protection of inmates’ rights and supervision of correctional facilities; five items for management of inmates on trial and minority inmates; five items for juvenile inmates, and; six items for female inmates. The treatment of sexual minorities was not included in the 2014 study. This study incorporated this element to see how penal institutions handle sexual minority issues, which became a target of elevated public attention with the improvement of gender sensitivity in Korea.
The items were evaluated based on international norms, as was the case in 2014. The evaluation was also based on the 2015 revision to the Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. As for the other international rules, this study relied on the versions used in the 2014 study.
The findings regarding Korean laws and administrative rules indicate improvement in human rights competencies from 2014. In particular, the ratings for the following items have been raised to “good”: separation of different age groups; principle of normalcy; roles of doctors - diagnosis and treatment of inmates; roles of doctors - reporting of inmates’ health status; nature of prison labor; prohibitions regarding prison labor; and similarity of prison labor. However, the evaluation found that improvements are required for multiple items on account of unclear provisions or lack of provisions, including: provisions regarding treatment of juvenile inmates and female inmates; provisions on inmates’ right to counsel; matters regarding socialization of treatment and social adaptation programs; and provisions on the obligation to keep inmates’ medical records.
Based on the international standards, the penal laws and administrative rules require the following clarifications.
The relevant laws require the following amendments and improvements. With regard to the protection of inmates’ fundamental rights, the laws should stipulate that the standards regarding industrial safety and health apply to inmates’ workplace, and clearly define the restrictions to inmates’ fundamental rights. To improve the protection of inmates’ human rights, the relevant laws need to provide for the legal basis for regular surveys of all correctional facilities, circulatory inspections, and emergency inspections. In addition, the NHRC and other laws should provide for regular surveys and on-site surveys.
To protect special groups of inmates, the following provisions need to be added. Juvenile detention centers need to be smaller than adult prisons in consideration of the nature of their inmates. The use of protective equipment, force, and weapons against juvenile inmates should be more restricted than the use of the same against adult inmates. Restriction of visitation should be struck off as a disciplinary measure, and also required are provisions that require consideration of the nature of juvenile inmates when determining the types and severity of disciplinary measures. Special provisions are required to protect female inmates who are pregnant or gave birth.
The following provisions and improvements are required for decrees and rules.
The Enforcement Decree specifies that the purpose of prison labor is to help inmates return to society. However, the decree also needs an additional provision stipulating that prison labor should not inflict pain on inmates. Other additional provisions include: unrestricted communication and consultation with counsels; provision of facilities and time; prohibition of censorship; prohibition of listening to conversations; participation of welfare workers to improve welfare for inmates; efforts to protect judicial interests; and measures to protect social security rights.
As for protection of foreign inmates, a separate section on protection of foreigners need to be added, along with other additional provisions providing for: prohibition of discrimination against foreign inmates; the quality of foreign inmates in terms of education, labor, training, correction, and rehabilitation; separation based on nationalities and cultures; provision of meals appropriate for inmates’ religions and cultures; and respect for religious lifestyles. The relevant provisions also need to be refined to hire or select interpreters for each regional group of prisons, so that foreign inmates can access their consulates and legal services.
The following provisions and improvements are required for administrative rules. The rules require new provisions that provide for doctors’ responsibility as hygiene managers at correctional institutions and the disclosure of, and access to, medical records.
The rules also need to clearly stipulate the use of revenues from prison labor to improve the quality of prison labor and vocational training programs, and social adaptation programs to facilitate inmates’ return to society in collaboration with other institutions and organizations. Other requirements for improvement of inmates’ human rights situations include: hiding inmates from public view during transportation to prevent them from being targets of insults and curiosity; prohibition of infliction of physical pain during transportation; classification of treatment based on the stages of mental illness; and securing of psychotherapy professionals at each correctional facility.
As for the protection of minority inmates’ human rights, concrete provisions are required to define the scope of sexual minority inmates and provide for different types of protection for different groups of sexual minorities. provisions regarding re-socialization of juvenile inmates also need to be improved for better support for social adaptation, especially for inmates with outstanding correctional performance. The relevant rules need to provide for evaluation and classification of juvenile inmates and female inmates based on their characteristics, training of the relevant staff members, mandatory training programs, and special treatment for female inmates with mental illness.
Chapter 4 Evaluation of Physical Elements of the Human Rights Competencies of Penal Institutions
In Chapter 4, to evaluate the physical competency of penal institutions, this study assessed the following: physical elements required for life in correctional facilities; medical infrastructure to protect inmates’ right to health; environmental improvements at correctional facilities; and efforts to resolve overpopulation.
Firstly, the physical competency of physical competency for improvement of inmates’ basic living conditions has been steadily improving since 2010. Inmates’ satisfaction with meals, lighting during sleep hours, and beddings significantly improved. However, their satisfaction with clothing, baths and showers, and air conditioning have not improved as much, which indicates the need for more active efforts to improve these elements. More facilities and equipment for bath, shower, and air conditioning are urgently require because they have direct impact on the hygiene and health of inmates held at overpopulated correctional facilities. As for air conditioning, standard cells do not have any cooling system other than electric fans. Special measures are required to maintain indoor temperature in extremely hot seasons. The evaluation is limited in that it relied on the findings of inmate satisfaction surveys to evaluate the physical competency of penal institutions. However, the reliance can be justified by the fact that inmates’ level of satisfaction is the direct result of penal institutions utilizing their physical competency.
Secondly, in terms of medical infrastructure for inmates’ health, penal institutions failed to catch up with the rapid increase in inmates’ needs for medical services, despite the continued efforts of the KCS to expand medical infrastructure. Adopting and expanding telemedicine systems lowers the financial resources and manpower required by penal institutions for medical treatment in external medical facilities. However, the size of medical staff at correctional facilities is not sufficient to cover the medical needs at correctional facilities. More medical personnel need to be secured as soon as possible. In addition, as the demand for treatment at external medical facilities increases, the workforce assigned to external treatment works as a burden for the management of correctional officials. Psychotherapy infrastructure for inmates with mental illness also needs to be expanded.
Thirdly, penal institutions show sufficient physical competency in the improvement of living environments and safety at correctional facilities. The KCS have been replacing heating systems and toilets at prison cells, and replacing insulation materials used in prison wards to maintain suitable indoor temperature. Other examples of the good physical competency of penal institutions include removal of asbestos to protect the health of inmates and correctional officers, and installation of sprinklers and anti-seismic reinforcements to protect against fires and earthquakes. In particular, the safety enhancement activities are based on the relevant laws. In this sense, physical competency is exercised based on institutional competency.
Fourthly, the physical competency regarding the mitigation of overpopulation needs to be evaluated at two different levels. The KCS seems to be exercising its internal physical competency to the fullest to secure detention space using unused spaces. However, the KCS lacks physical competency in areas that require sizable fiscal commitments and pose possibility of conflict with local residents such as relocation and construction of facilities. Due to the nature of the KCS’s responsibilities and its standing within the MOJ, it lacks the competency to actively engage in negotiations with local communities and other ministries. As such competency cannot be fully enhanced by improving the KCS’s internal competencies, an organization should be formed which coordinate the interests among related institutions. As recommended by the NHRC, a possible alternative is to form a government-wide consultative body lead by the Office of the Prime Minister and involving the MOJ, the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, the Ministry of the Interior and Safety, the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office, and the courts.
Chapter 5 Evaluation of Personnel Elements of Human Rights Competencies of Penal Institutions: Findings from the Correctional Officer Awareness Survey
1. Representativeness of the Survey and Characteristics of the Surveyed Officers
Chapter 5 presents the findings of a survey conducted for this study. The survey looked into the experiences and opinions of 864 correctional officers tasked with human rights protection at 19 correctional facilities. To secure a group of samples representative of the overall population, the respondents were sampled based on the percentages of each gender, age group, and rank among correctional officers. The author included more female officers and superintendents or higher-ranked officers than the percentage of the respective groups in the overall population, to analyze the difference among different gender and rank groups.
The author also set the percentage of correctional officers with experience in human rights petitions higher than the percentage in the overall population, to look into the experiences and perceptions of the officers in the group. The distribution of age, years in services, and ranks of the surveyed officers are largely similar to, and therefore representative of, the distribution in the overall correctional officer population.
2. Correctional Officers’ Human Rights Awareness and Perception of Inmates’ Human Rights Status
*Correctional Officers’ Perception of Human Rights Protection Status for Inmates at Correctional Facilities
In general, the surveyed officers expressed positive views about human rights protection for inmates at correctional facilities. The respondents fully agreed that inmates’ human rights are well protected in terms of the following items: (i) general protection of inmates’ human rights; (ii) hygienic issues at correctional facilities; (iii) legal remedies for inmates’ rights; (iv) protection of communication secret including mails; (v) restricted use of protective equipment, and; (vi) human rights awareness of correctional officers. On the other hand, the surveyed officers’ views were not as positive about the following items: (i) understanding from inmates’ perspective, and; (ii) improvement of medical treatment for inmates.
In other words, the respondents had reservations about the need to understand the positions of inmates and their hardships at the facilities, and the need to improve medical treatment for inmates.
The perception of human rights protection status at the correctional facilities showed significant differences among sub-groups. Respondents who are older, served for longer years, and are ranked higher were found to be more concerned about the status of human rights protection for inmates, and agreed more readily with the need to improve their treatment.
*Comparison of Correctional Officers’ Human Rights Awareness and Human Rights Index Scores Regarding Treatment of Inmates
With regard to the human rights awareness of correctional officers regarding the treatment of inmates, the surveyed officers shared a view that protection of inmates’ human rights should be construed as narrowly as possible, and their level of treatment should be set to minimum. The survey findings show excessively conservative interpretation of the laws related to treatment of inmates, and a large number of respondents held misinformed views about inmates with HIVs and inmates’ right to exchange correspondents. These findings suggest possible violation of inmates’ human rights.
The human rights awareness regarding treatment of inmates showed significant
differences among sub-groups. Respondents who are younger, served for less years, and are ranked lower reported lower human rights index scores. Groups with lower human rights index scores expressed a view that treatment of inmates should be strict and restricted to minimum. In addition, correctional officers with experience in human rights petitions reported higher human rights index scores than those without such experience.
3. Correctional Officers’ Experience and Perception of Claims and Petitions
*Correctional Officers’ Experience of Claims, Petitions, Complaints, and Written Accusations Filed by Inmates
Most of the surveyed officers think that inmates may file criminal complaints, accusations, complaints, or petitions against them in the course of their duties (94 percent, 807 respondents), and are concerned about possible accidents at the facilities (87.4%, 753 respondents). 22.6 percent of the respondents (194 out of 860) had petitions filed against them, 40.0 percent (344 respondents) had complaints filed against then with the NHRC or the MOJ Human Rights Bureau, 37.4 percent (322 respondents) had criminal complaints or accusations filed against them, and 42.2 percent (363 respondents) were attacked or threatened by inmates. The majority of the surveyed officers (55.1 percent, 474 respondents) experienced petitions, criminal complaints, accusations, complaints, attacks, and threats from inmates at least once during their duties. The findings indicate how many correctional officers are exposed to petitions, criminal complaints, accusations, complaints, attacks, and threats from inmates in the course of their duties.
*Correctional Officers’ Response to Claims, Petitions, Complaints, and Written Accusations Filed by Inmates and Difficulties Resulting Therefrom
The survey also looked into the emotional state in which the correctional officers found themselves when inmates filed petitions, criminal complaints, accusations, and complaints against them. The majority of the respondents reported being “angry” at the inmates (70.7 percent, 335 respondents), followed by “inconvenience caused by the investigations following the complaints, petitions, criminal complaints, or accusations,” (70.8%, 334 respondents), “feeling of being wronged and victimized” (67.0%, 317 respondents), and “regrets for becoming a correctional officer” (64.1%, 303 respondents). It should be noted only 1.5 percent of the officers with experience of petitions, criminal complaints, accusations, and complaints (7 respondents) thought that they were at fault. Most correctional officers do not think that they are responsible for complaints, petitions, criminal complaints, or accusations filed by inmates.
*Opinions Regarding Increase in Claims and Petitions and Necessary Measures
The surveyed officers tend to think that inmates file complaints or petitions as a way to make their life in prison more comfortable. Many of them also attribute it to the raised expectations regarding treatment among inmates. Only a small percentage of the respondents attributed it to higher human rights awareness among inmates or poor conditions of correctional facilities.
The surveyed officers called for strong actions against baseless or wrongful accusations to prevent abuse of complaints and petitions. They were also concerned about complaints and petitions being filed with higher-tier institutions or multiple institutions at the same time. They also expect the correctional institutions to provide legal services and consultation by law professionals and reduce the impact of decisions or corrective orders resulting from complaints and petitions.
4. Correctional Officers’ Awareness and Acceptance of NHRC Decisions
*Understanding of NHRC Decisions
To determine the level of understanding of NHRC decisions among the surveyed officers, the author compiled ten questions. For these questions, the author selected decisions involving important or recurrent issues regarding inmate control among the NHRC decisions issuing corrective orders against treatment of inmates at correctional facilities between the second half of 2018 and the first half of 2019. The ten questions involve the following orders: (i) improvement of arbitrary diagnosis by medical department staff in absence of medical officers; (ii) wearing of name tag by members of the Correctional Rapid Patrol Team (CRPT) and justified use of protective equipment; (iii) reduction of the time allowed for preparation of review reports for use of protective equipment; (iv) requirement for human rights training and supervision to prevent use of back handcuffs for long periods of time; (v) indication of concrete reasons for instructions regarding use of electronic media equipment; (vi) specification of document types allowed to be enclosed in letters between inmates; (vii) prevention lf letter censorship and disciplinary measures for reporting to the press; (viii) improvement of forced sitting of inmates during supervisor rounds; (ix) expansion of religious meetings for inmates on trial, and; (x) recommended prohibition of marking and exposure of personal medical history of inmates with HIVs.
The survey looked into the understanding of the ten NHRC decisions among the correctional officers. The findings indicate that most of the officers are familiar with the corrective measures recommended by the decisions. However, more than 10 percent of the respondents were not familiar with two of the decisions ((i) improvement of arbitrary diagnosis by medical department staff in absence of medical officers and (vi) specification of document types allowed to be enclosed in letters between inmates).
Respondents who are older, served for longer years, and are ranked higher showed better understanding of the NHRC decisions. In addition, the understanding of the decisions among respondents with experience in human rights petitions was significantly higher than those without such experience.
*Correctional Officers’ Opinions Regarding the Appropriateness of the NHRC Decisions
Not a small percentage of the surveyed officers answered that the ten NHRC decisions are not appropriate considering the reality at the correctional facilities.
The percentages vary from decision to decision, between 15 percent and 30 percent. The findings suggest the difficulties experienced by correctional officers, who deal with or supervise inmates in direct contact, as they attempt to comply with the recommendations. The appropriateness rating for “improvement of arbitrary diagnosis by medical department staff in absence of medical officers” was the lowest at 3.0, which indicates that the surveyed officers do not think that the reality of medical treatment at the facilities does not allow for compliance with the recommendation.
Respondents who are older, served for longer years, and are ranked higher were more likely to answer that the NHRC recommendations are appropriate.
*Status and Correctional Officers’ Opinions Regarding Job-Related Human Rights Training
Job-related human rights training for correctional institutions provided by the MOJ can be grouped into the following categories based on the implementers and the training methods: (i) human rights group training at the Institute of Justice (IOJ); (ii) cyber human rights training at the IOJ; (iii) human rights sensitivity training at the MOJ Human Rights Bureau, and; (iv) human rights training at correctional institutions.
Around 8 percent of the surveyed officers (69 respondents) reported that they had not received, or does not recall receiving, any human rights training related to their jobs. Grade 9 or grade 7 correctional officers receive job-related human rights training at the IOJ upon employment, followed by additional training when promoted to grade 7 or 6. Therefore, 8 percent of the respondents did receive job-related human rights training, but were not aware of the fact.
The surveyed officers were mostly satisfied with the current human rights education, and did not feel the need for additional education, with only around a quarter of the officers agreeing with the need for additional human rights training. However, most NHRC decisions recommend human rights training of correctional officers, and the survey findings indicate extremely restrictive interpretation of inmates’ human rights, conservative interpretation of the relevant laws, and misinformed views on the right to exchange correspondents and inmates with HIVs. They suggest the need for overall improvement of human rights training of correctional officers.
5. Opinions Regarding Top Priority Tasks for Protection of Inmates’ Human Rights
The surveyed officers stressed the improvement of correctional facilities as a means to enhance protection of inmates’ human rights, such as the mitigation of overpopulation and the improvement of deteriorated facilities, followed by “adjustment of correctional officers’ workload and treatment.” Other opinions include improvement of medical treatment of inmates and improvement of public perception of correctional institutions. On the other hand, most of the surveyed officers answered that “reinforcement of human rights training tailored to inmates’ needs” is not a top priority task for enhanced protection of inmates’ human rights.
Chapter 6 Evaluation of Human Rights Competencies of Military Penal Institutions
Chapter 6 discusses the evaluation of human rights competencies of military penal institutions. The evaluation focuses on military penal institutions, which are special penal institutions established under the military law system that report to the Minister of National Defense.
The operation of military correctional facilities does not constitute a main responsibility of the Ministry of National Defense (MND), and penal administration is assigned a low priority in national defense policies. Military correctional facilities are not well-known to the general public, and studies about military correctional facilities are difficult to find. For these reasons, the operational and institutional requirements for military correctional facilities are far from being standardized, their physical conditions are poor, and there is no basis for legislating even the most basic requirements. Neither is there any institutional system to train and secure correctional officials. In particular, one of the most serious issues is assigning enlisted servicemen without any correctional expertise to correctional positions.
In light of the above, to improve the human rights competencies of military correctional facilities established under the military law system, this study analyzes the status of military correctional facilities in terms of physical, operational/institutional, and personnel elements, and discusses microscopic and macroscopic improvements for each element. Military correctional facilities can be divided into the Military Correctional Institution (MCI) and the guardhouses at each military unit.
The author conducted a focus group interview with military correctional officers and servicemen, along with on-site surveys and collection of the relevant literature and materials. The surveys were conducted at the MCI and the guardhouses of six military units. and the focus group interview involved 12 correctional officers and 16 enlisted servicemen. However, we would like to note that the findings are restricted by the lack of cooperation at some units, which refused visits or failed to provide the requested information. In addition, given the fact that the National Assembly is currently discussing the abolishment of the guardhouse system, and the MND issued a public announcement of the abolishment, this study does not consider disciplinary detention as a part of military penal administration.
Most military correctional facilities hold inmates on trial. However, the number of inmates on trial was smaller than civilian correctional facilities. Military correctional facilities hold servicemen and civilian military employees. Civilians are held at military correctional facilities only in rare cases. The status of servicemen and civilian military employees change depending on court judgments, and most of the convicted inmates are transferred to civilian correctional facilities. It explains the high percentage of inmates on trial at military correctional facilities. The low number of inmates means no overpopulation issue at the facilities. However, they do not have enough budget to maintain the facilities up to date.
Most military inmates are held at the MCI, and few cells for inmates on trial were occupied at guardhouses. Most guardhouses hold only one or two inmates on trial per year. It explains the poor conditions for inmates on trial at many of the guardhouses.
Military correctional facilities are not managed under a single department. The MCI is under jurisdiction of the MND Inspection Bureau, and guardhouses are managed by the General Counsel Bureau. However, the actual management and operation of guardhouses are the responsibilities of the military police of the respective units.
The military correctional facilities are expected to be influenced by the ongoing military law reform. In consideration of the situation, this study proposes possible improvements. The reform is expected to result in merges between guardhouses.
Specific operational and institutional elements at military correctional facilities were identified through on-site visits, the focus group interview, and literature review.
The operational elements include: meal criteria at the MCI; reception procedures relying on hand-written documents; separation based on ranks; TV rules; existence and use of post exchange (PX); TV rules at guardhouses; purchase of items; assigned budget; and daily schedules. Military facilities provide better meals and purchasable items compared with civilian facilities. However, military inmates experience difficulties with administrative procedures and access to the inmate culture because they are not allowed to use the Borami system used by civilian inmates.
In addition, the Military Penal Administration Act does not fully incorporate the amendment to the Penal Administration Act regarding promotion of fundamental rights, and this study analyzes the difference between the two laws. The related issues include: absence of framework plans for treatment of inmates; failure to adopt the changes resulting from the enhanced right to counsel under the Penal Administration Act; failure to incorporate wardens’ obligation to provide written reasons for restricting letter exchange; absence of provisions regarding the right to receive consolation money; the discrepancy of status and treatment of inmates sentenced to capital punishment between civilian and military facilities; and discrepancy between the provisions on handover of bodies between civilian and military facilities.
This study also looks into the organization systems and workforce status of the military facilities, and discuss issues regarding their status, powers, and treatment. The key issues include the non-recognition of the “judicial police officer” status of correctional officers, and the conflict between correctional servicemen and inmates who are officers or non-commissioned officers. This study also analyzes the current status of the laws and systems to protect inmates’ rights and supervise correctional facilities. While most inmates have access to complaints and other systems for protecting their rights, some facilities posed issues with their complaint boxes. The level of supervision was poor at most facilities. These issues can be attributed to the military authorities’ lack of interest in military correctional facilities.
As for the physical elements at military correctional facilities, this study reviews and evaluates the basic living conditions based on the findings of on-site visits. The physical elements include the status of guardhouse facilities and cells, meals, clothing and beddings, hygiene facilities, and medical facilities therein.
In addition, this survey looks into the conditions of facilities for ensuring inmate treatment such as gyms, libraries, religious facilities, vocational training facilities, educational facilities, communication facilities, disciplinary facilities, and cells for female inmates.
The physical elements were where the military correctional facilities were found to be the most vulnerable. Due to low budget and lack of interest from the authorities, many of the facilities did not have the basic elements required for detention facilities. As for the MCI, most facilities were deteriorated, proper air conditioning was not provided, and many of the medical facilities were in poor conditions or inoperable. These issues require urgent attention because they indicate lack of protection of inmates’ right to health. Guardhouses lacked standardized criteria, which resulted in greatly varying degrees of deterioration depending on when the facilities were constructed, and different structures and equipment among facilities. Actions need to be taken to standardize the facilities.
With regard go the personnel elements, this study reviews the content and quality of job training for correctional officers and servicemen based on the focus group interview and literature review, and looks into their awareness and understanding of correctional work.
As was the case with the overall military correctional facilities, one of the most serious issues with correctional officials in the military was the absence of standardization of job skills. Correctional officers showed lack of expertise, and the level of expertise greatly varied depending on the efforts taken by individual officers. The issue was more serious among correctional servicemen, who are usually assigned to facilities without proper training. These issues greatly undermine the correctional and rehabilitative effect of the facilities, and interfere with the protection of inmates’ fundamental rights.
Based on the findings on these elements, this study proposes three categories of tasks to enhance the human rights competencies of military penal institutions: standardization and modernization of the physical elements; standardization of the operational and institutional elements, alignment with the civilian facilities, and enhanced accountability of the personnel and the organizations; and enhanced expertise of the personnel elements.
In addition, this study proposes microscopic and macroscopic measures to enhance each element of human rights competencies.
The macroscopic measures to enhance the operational and institutional elements include: managing the military correctional facilities under a single department; amending the relevant laws to grant military correctional officers with the status of judicial police officers; revising the organization of military correctional officers and servicemen to use the latter only as assistants; and replacing correctional officers with correctional civilian employees with expertise in the area. The microscopic measures include: establishing a framework plan for the treatment of military inmates by amending the relevant laws; incorporating the enhancement of inmates’ rights under the Penal Administration Act into the Military Penal Administration Act; matching the status of inmates sentenced to capital punishment under the Penal Administration Act with that of the Military Correctional Institution; adopting the Borami system in the military correctional administration; unifying the rules across guardhouses at different units; increasing the budget for guardhouse operation, and; reinforcing the supervision functions for military correctional facilities under the relevant laws.
The macroscopic measures to enhance the physical elements include: increasing the budget for construction of a new MCI facility, and; establishing regional military detention centers and discontinue the operation of guardhouses at peace times. The microscopic measures include: improving air conditioning systems and medical facilities until the new MCI facility is completed; installing safety systems within disciplinary cells at the MCI; setting up outdoor spaces for drying laundries and developing measures to standardize bedding management; adopting mandatory installation of changing rooms for inmates during reception; securing books and exercise equipment at guardhouses; and replacing visiting room barriers at guardhouses with double-layer glass.
The measures to reinforce the personnel elements include: entrusting the job training of correctional officers (correctional civilian military employees) with the IOJ; separately recruiting enlisted servicemen for correctional positions, and; providing them with an opportunity to apply for correctional officer positions upon discharge.
Chapter 7 Policies for Enhancement of Human Rights Competencies of Penal Institutions in Other Countries
Chapter 7 discusses policies and improvements in other countries aimed at enhancing the human rights competencies of penal institutions. The policies and improvements are analyzed in three areas: (i) improvement of laws and systems; (ii) improvement of physical environments, and; (iii) training of, and support for, penal personnel. Due to limited access to data, this study focuses on the experiences in the United States the United Kingdom, and other English-speaking countries. For the discussions in this chapter, the author relied on the websites of the related institutions, reports published by the United Nations (UN), government entities, and non-government organizations (NGOs), manuals, toolkits, academic papers, and news reports. This purpose of this chapter is to derive implications applicable to the situation in Korea.
Section 2 discusses promotion of human rights competencies through institutional improvements, including laws related to protection of inmates’ human rights, complaint and petition systems, protection of minority inmates, and support from NGOs.
Firstly, with regard to efforts to prevent violation of human rights among inmates, this study reviews the First Step Act and the Civil Rights Act in the United States.
Secondly, with regard to efforts to enhance protection of minority inmates’ human rights, this study reviews a UN handbook and the treatment of inmates who are pregnant, sexual minorities, or people with disabilities. (i) In 2009, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) published the Handbook on Prisoners with Special Needs, which stresses special care and treatment of the elderlies, terminal cancer patients, inmates sentenced to capital punishment, foreigners, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, and lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBTs). (ii) The United Kingdom and the United States lead the world in the enactment of laws that prohibit the use of restraining tools on pregnant inmates, and are refining their laws and systems for pre- and postnatal supports. (iii) The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) of the United States include provisions on separation of LGBTs and participation in the relevant programs. (iv) In 20178 and 2018, the United States Department of Justice developed the Transgender Offender Manual to improve the treatment of transgender inmates. (v) The Corrective Services New South Wales has set up the Statewide Disability Services (SDS) tasked with additional support for inmates with disabilities. (vi) The website of the New Zealand Department of Corrections specify the treatments of inmates with disabilities, and the department seeks to provide the same level of support as outside the prisons. The United States Department of Justice issued the prison and jail-specific Americans with Disabilities Act regulations in 2010 (28 C.F.R. § 35.152), which requires provision of environment tailored to the needs of convicted inmates with disabilities. (vi) Her. Majesty's Prison Service in the United Kingdom run special units and programs for inmates with learning disorders under the IQ of 70.
Thirdly, this paper discusses the following activities of inmate support groups and improvements of penal systems through public-private partnerships. Improvements in the human rights situations of inmates were largely propelled by the e fforts of NGOs. T hey h elp inmates r aise c omplai nts and fi le l awsui ts within prisons, promote issues regarding inmates’ human rights and carry out campaigns outside prisons, serve as pressure groups for parliamentary legislations and government policies, and publish various surveys and research reports. The section introduces the activities of the Penal Reform International (PRI), the Pace. University Law School Library, the Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights at The Miriam Hospital, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the National Center for Lesbian Right, the National Center for Transgender Equality, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), and the non-profit law firm Prison Law Office, the Human Right Watch, and the Amnesty International.
Fourthly, this study reviews the Civil Rights Act of the United States regarding efforts to effectively address abuse of complaints and petitions. American inmates are allowed to file lawsuits only for violations of civil rights, and correctional officials are required to provide convicted inmates with tools to access courts. Faced with a spike in lawsuits based on the Civil Rights Act from inmates, the United States enacted the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) in 1997. The Act banned convicted inmates from filing lawsuits regarding conditions at prisons before exhausting other remedies at the correctional facilities, and restricted the eligibility criteria for filing lawsuits.
Section 3 discusses promotion of human rights competencies through improvement of physical environments, with focus on the changes and improvements of prison spaces where inmates actually live. To that end, the section reviews the prison environment improvement campaigns with architects, and improvements in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Norway.
Firstly, this study reviews the facility and environment improvement campaigns with architects. Correctional departments of different countries improve on existing facilities and build new prisons by signing contracts with architecture and architectural design firms. An architecture firm in the United Kingdom developed prison design guidelines at the request of Her Majesty’s Prison Services. Architects in the United States and Europe criticized prison environments that violation human rights through exhibitions and publications. Moseley Architects, DLR in the United States have a team dedicated to prison construction, and provides specialized design, programming, and architectural services for correctional facilities.
Secondly, this study looks into the latest trends in space rearrangement and environmental improvement at prisons to promote protection of inmates’ human rights. The section discusses major environmental improvements in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Norway. Until the 1950’s, living conditions at American prisons were poor. Environmental improvements were made possible by prison riots, the enactment of the Civil Rights Act, Supreme Court decisions, and activities of human rights groups. The Federal Correctional Complex, Butner in the United States is a large complex with improved buildings. It is designed to minimize the environmental impact of prisons. The Bledsoe County Correctional Complex, BCCX in Tennessee, United States represents another case of prison architecture that maintains the prototype of prison architecture while considering the human rights of inmates as well as correctional officers. The Berwyn Prison in the United Kingdom is another modernized prison with a vastly improved environment. The Halden Prison in Norway is designed to minimize feeling of confinement, reduce stress, and achieve harmony with the surrounding nature. It boasts the lowest recidivism rate in the world.
As for improvements of human rights competencies through training of, and support for, correctional officials, Section 4 reviews the training of correctional officials who enforce laws in close proximity to inmates, and measures to improve their subjective well-being.
Firstly, this study explores the improvement of human rights competencies through training. In 2005, the UN developed the Manual on Human Rights Training for Prison Officials to provide a comprehensive curriculum for human rights training of correctional officials. Many countries impose rigid training and education requirements for correctional officers including human rights training, such as Norway (2 years), Finland (16 months), Germany (2 years), Iceland (2 years), and Hungary (27 weeks).
Secondly, this study reviews improvement of penal officials job skills through stress management and psychological support. The National Institute of Corrections of the United States and the University of Massachusetts Lowell hold forums on the well-being of correctional officers to address issues related with their stress. The United States and the United Kingdom run various programs to provide psychological, physical, and emotional support to correctional officers such as peer support programs, critical case response team, meditation training, and consulting by mental health professionals.
The overseas experiences discussed in this study provide the following implications for each group of competency elements for penal institutions.
1. Implications for institutional improvement of penal administration
(ⅰ) A framework act on human rights needs to be enacted.
(ⅱ) An act should be enacted to prevent human rights violations among inmates.
(ⅲ) Systems are urgently needed to enhance protection of minority inmates’ human rights.
(ⅳ) Cooperation with inmate support NGOs is crucial.
2. Implications for physical improvement of penal administration
(ⅰ) Inmates’ return to society should be understood as a part of correctional efforts, and fiscal resources should be invested in the area.
(ⅱ) Facility improvement projects should retain architectural professionals.
(ⅲ) Constructing correctional complexes with professional medical treatment facilities offers a lot of benefits.
(ⅳ) Physical elements need to be harmonized with personnel elements.
3. Implications for personnel competency improvement of penal administration
(ⅰ) A human rights protection training manual informed by research should be developed.
(ⅱ) Newly employed correctional officials should be trained for sufficient amounts of time.
(ⅲ) Education and training on minority inmates are required.
(ⅳ) Measures need to be developed to promote the well-being of correctional officers.
(ⅴ) Peer mentoring programs, physical health promotion programs, provision of professional assistance from external organizations, operation of critical incident response groups for trauma treatment, and meditation training and engagement experts for mental health of correctional officials contribute to improving their skills by promoting their physical and mental health.
Chapter 8 Conclusions
*Result of Institutional Competency Evaluation of Penal Institutions for Protection of Inmates’ Human Rights and Suggestions for Enhanced Protection
To evaluate the institutional competency of penal institutions, this study looked into how Korean laws incorporate the key elements of the international norms related with correction. The evaluation identified several improvements required in several areas: improvement of provisions regarding medical services in the area of inmates’ basic living conditions; improvement of provisions on work safety in prisons and social adaptation support for inmates in the area of treatment of convicted inmates; and enactment of legal basis for inmates’ right to counsel in the area of protection of inmates’ rights. With regard to juvenile inmates, provisions regarding maintenance of order in prisons, treatment of convicted inmates, and job performance of correctional officers. Provisions on female inmates also need to be improved in consideration of their difference from male inmates.
On the microscopic level, this paper proposes the following measures: improvement of the laws and guidelines regarding items with “poor” and “mostly fine” ratings in the evaluation, and; enactment of laws and regulations regarding the treatment of inmates with disabilities and convicted inmates who are sexual minorities. On the macroscopic level, this paper proposes: enactment of the Basic Human Rights Act; enactment of a special law to prevent human rights violations between inmates; and development of a cooperative system with non-government organizations (NGOs) supporting inmates.
*Result of Physical Competency Evaluation of Penal Institutions for Protection of Inmates’ Human Rights and Suggestions for Enhanced Protection
To evaluate the physical competency of penal institutions, this study assessed the following: physical elements required for life in correctional facilities; medical infrastructure to protect inmates’ right to health; environmental improvements at correctional facilities; and efforts to resolve overpopulation. For the evaluation, this study used the findings regarding inmates’ satisfaction with physical elements from the annual Ministry of Justice Detention Facility Survey (2010-2018) conducted by the Human Rights Investigation Division of the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) Human Rights Bureau, the Corrections Statistics of the Republic of Korea, and the internal documents provided by the Korea Correctional Service (KCS) under the MOJ. The evaluation showed that penal institutions in Korea have sufficient physical competency in the areas related with inmates’ basic living, such as catering, provision of supplies, and fostering of convenient and safe living environment. On the other hand, the evaluation identified several issues with medical infrastructure for inmates’ health, including the insufficiency of medical staffs and the insufficiency of psychotherapy infrastructure for inmates with mental illnesses. With regard to the competency to mitigate overpopulation, Korean penal institutions showed sufficient competency in expanding and renovating holding spaces. However, they were found to be less competent in tasks requiring cooperation with external entities, such as the relocation of existing correctional facilities and the construction of new facilities.
At the microscopic level, this study proposes the following measures to enhance penal institutions’ physical competency: securing sufficient budget for improvement of “existing” facilities and equipment apart from the “plans” to relocate and build facilities, and; enhancing the institutions’ physical competency through their institutional competency. At the macroscopic level, this study proposed the following measures: committing fiscal resources to social adaptation-centered innovation of correctional practices; building correctional complexes including professional medical treatment facilities, and; forming a government-wide consultative body to address the overpopulation issue.
*Result of Personnel Competency Evaluation of Penal Institutions for Protection of Inmates’ Human Rights and Suggestions for Enhanced Protection
To evaluate the personnel competency of penal institutions, this study surveyed the experiences and opinions of 864 correctional officers tasked with human rights protection at 19 correctional facilities. The findings of the survey can be summarized as follows: (i) In general, the surveyed officers expressed positive views about human rights protection for inmates at correctional facilities. (ii) The surveyed officers shared a view that protection of inmates’ human rights should be construed as narrowly as possible, and their level of treatment should be set to minimum. ( iii ) The surveyed officers were found to be mindful of possibilities of inmates filing a criminal complaint or written accusation against them during their duties. They were also concerned about accidents at the facilities. (iv) The majority of the surveyed officers felt angry when inmates filed complaints, petitions, criminal complaints, or written accusations against them. The officers also felt inconvenienced or wronged by investigations that followed. (v) The surveyed officers tend to think that inmates file complaints or petitions as a way to make their life in prison more comfortable. (vi) The surveyed officers called for strong actions against baseless or wrongful accusations to prevent abuse of complaints and petitions. They were also concerned about complaints and petitions being filed with higher-tier institutions or multiple institutions at the same time. (vii) The surveyed officers were mostly familiar with latest decisions of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). However, a large percentage of them thought that the decisions were appropriate for the reality at the correctional facilities (between 15 and 30 percent). (viii) The surveyed officers were mostly satisfied with the current human rights education, and did not feel the need for additional education. However, the survey findings also indicate conservative interpretation of the relevant laws, misinformed views on the right to counsel, and lack of knowledge on human immunodeficiency viruses (HIVs). Human rights protection for correctional officers need to be improved by addressing these issues. (vi) The surveyed officers stressed the improvement of correctional facilities as a means to enhance protection of inmates’ human rights, such as the mitigation of overpopulation and the improvement of deteriorated facilities.
At the microscopic level, this study proposes the following measures to enhance personnel competency: enhancing education and training on treatment of minority inmates and; developing measures to promote mental health among correctional officers. At the macroscopic level, this study proposes the following measures: developing a human rights protection training manual informed by research findings, and; innovating job training of correctional officers.
*Result of Human Rights Competency Evaluation of Military Penal Institutions for Protection of Military Inmates’ Human Rights and Suggestions for Enhanced Protection
To evaluate the competencies of military penal institutions for protection of military inmates’ human rights, the author visited the Military Correctional Institution and the detention centers at military units to survey the practices therein and interview correctional officers and servicemen. The findings and proposals for policy directions can be summarized as follows. (i) The military penal institutions recorded low ratings for institutional competency on account of shortcomings in penal laws. To improve the institutional competency of military penal institutions, the following measures are proposed: standardizing the basic living conditions and treatment of military inmates; improving the military penal laws in compliance with the international penal norms; and legislating the powers and responsibilities of military correctional officials. (ii) To improve the physical competency of military penal institutions, their physical environments need to be modernized and standardized. Apart from showing overall deterioration, the physical environments vary so much across facilities that quantitative assessment is not feasible. (iii) The military penal institutions recorded low ratings for personnel competency, on account of the low level of expertise among their staff. Enhancing the expertise among military penal personnel should be a top priority.