Revision to streamline parole rules
Move is expected to prevent secret deals between judicial departments and convicts
The top court has issued a revision to the regulation on seeking commutation of sentences and parole, specifying the circumstances to prevent unjust reduction of prison time.
The revision, announced by the Supreme People’s Court on Tuesday, will come into effect on Jan 1.
Yang Weidong, a professor on rule of law at China National School of Administration, said the document clarifies the standards for those applying for commutation of sentences and parole, and reiterates the importance of applying the same standards across the nation.
“The provisions were announced and explained at a media briefing held by the top court, making the standards for seeking commutation of sentences and parole clearer for the public. The move will help prevent under-the-table deals between judicial departments and convicts,” he said.
The new regulation has 42 provisions based on the 29 clauses of the previous version, which was issued in 2012. It clarifies eligibility for remission and details about applying the rules of the Criminal Law.
Those being sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve should serve at least 15 years of prison time after commutations, according to the regulation.
For those sentenced to life in prison for corruption or dereliction of duty, it requires a mandatory minimum prison time of three years before they apply for commutation of sentence, and the prison term should not be reduced to less than 20 years upon their first application.
Xia Daohu, head of the trial
Problems have emerged with commutation of sentence and parole in recent years.”
Xia Daohu, head of the trial supervision department of the Supreme People’s Court
supervision department of the Supreme People’s Court, said :“Problems have emerged with commutation of sentences and parole in recent years. Those who possess money or power are usually able to serve shorter terms of imprisonment and are easily granted parole, which has put judicial credibility in jeopardy.”
“The regulation is in line with requests by the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission calling for stricter punishment of those guilty of corruption ,” Xia said, adding that the regulation is more lenient on certain groups, including senior convicts, those who are under 18 years of age and disabled people.
An average of 600,000 cases involving commutation of sentence and parole are processed across the country each year, said Teng Wei, deputy head of the trial supervision department of the Supreme People’s Court.
The regulation is of great significance to standardizing the application of the qualification, Teng said.
“The commutation of sentences and parole is an important part of law enforcement. Therefore, standardizing the application of executive rules will determine whether justice can be demonstrated,” Yang said.