100 Prisoners paroled to attend Spring Festival
More than 100 prisoners in Beijing are joining their families to celebrate the Spring Festival as a result of China’s largest ever parole and sentence commutation.
Wednesday morning, 147 prisoners currently incarcerated in Beijing, were released on parole, just in time for them to return home to enjoy Spring Festival with their families.
In addition to these lucky few, another 410 prisoners had their sentences commuted.
Commenting at the parole and sentence commutation meeting yesterday, Zhang Fen, one of the prisoners lucky enough to have been granted parole said, “Without parole, I would have had to stay in the prison for another two years and I wouldn’t be able to go home until 2009.”
“As soon as I get home,” she said, “I will cook for my parents, something I have wanted to do for a long time.”
Last year, at the age of 40, Zhang was sentenced to over three years in prison for drug smuggling. She said she hadn’t seen her parents since her court appearance and had missed them a great deal.
Yesterday, over 10,000 people, including the heads of the local police, procuratorial and judiciary departments, along with all prisoners up for parole attended the unprecedented meeting in Beijing.
Not all prisoners were lucky enough to be released. At the meeting, one prisoner had his sentence extended by 30 months for affray. Another was recalled back from parole by police for allegedly covering up crimes for which he had not yet confessed to.
Guo Jitang, deputy head of the Beijing Prison Management Bureau revealed that, according to state law, prison officials give marks to the prisoners based on their behavior, rewarding those with high marks by commuting their sentences.
Pan Kaiyuan from the Beijing Prison Action Department said, “I believe it is perfectly correct that we should let them go home for Spring Festival.”