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Correctional Treatment and Rights of Death Penalty Prisoners

  • DONG-A LAW REVIEW
  • 2011, (50), pp.231-258
  • Publisher : The Institute for Legal Studies Dong-A University
  • Research Area : Social Science > Law

이호중 1

1서강대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Since 1998 there has been no execution of death penalty in Korea. Now 58 prisoners are incarcerated on death row. Although many politicians have kept repeating ridiculous claims for execution of death penalty, the experiences of non-execution during 13 years would be a positive step toward the ultimate abolition of death penalty in Korea. This paper deals with an issue how death row inmates might be treated by incarceration, in the current situation of “substantial abolitionist country”, but also toward ending capital punishment. I briefly review current statutes and practices on the treatment of death row inmates. The new Prison Act 2008 manages the death penalty prisoners as a particular category, not similar to the other prisoners. However, there is no particular treatment or program for death penalty prisoners. There is no systematic treatment for rehabilitation and no program for their psychological stability. It is not surprising that they suffer from emotional trauma of having to face impending death every morning. The psychological suffering caused by uncertainty of many years on death row is akin to torture. Therefore, this paper suggests significant change of treatment policy for death penalty prisoners. The long-term prisoner treatment system should be applied also to the death penalty prisoners. First of all, we should establish effective programs for their psychological stability. And until death penalty would be effectively shut down by a commutation of sentences, the systematic correctional treatment is needed to prepare for rehabilitation. Ultimately, they can have a chance and prepare for return to society that could one day be realized.

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