Prisoners at work: The stepping stone of remuneration and reintegration into the community
The implementation of regimes and policies for inmates to serve imprisonment sentences in prisons has always been the target of hostile forces and opposers aiming to abuse and distort Vietnam in violation of democracy and human rights.
On November 9, 2020, the Government issued a Decree detailing a number of articles of the Law on Execution of Criminal Judgments. According to the Decree, during the time serving a prison sentence in prison, inmates are obliged to work to reform and become useful citizens of society.
At present, Vietnamese prisons are fully implementing the regimes and policies for prisoners to strictly ensure compliance with the provisions of law. The measures to educate prisoners always give prominence to the humanity and the rule of law.
Prisoners work at Hoang Tien Detention Center. Photo: Ministry of Public Security
Vocational training has made an important contribution to improving the effectiveness of inmate education and reform. Through labor, inmates have changes in perception and progress in the rehabilitation process, at the same time, that process creates conditions for the prisoners to have jobs so that they can apply for jobs and have jobs when they reintegrate into society. In fact, prisoners are accepted by establishments and enterprises to work, have income and ensure their lives.
Lt. Gen. Ho Thanh Dinh, director of the Police Department managing Prisons, compulsory educational establishments, reformatory schools, said that the department's thorough view in the management and education of prisoners is the reform of ideology associated with labor reform.
The humanitarian policy is the core, which focuses on how to make the prisoners change in awareness, clearly identify their mistakes and crimes to strive and improve themselves.
By doing that, in addition to political and cultural education, vocational education is needed to help them get a job when they leave the prison to take care of themselves, their families, and prevent them from recidivism. This is a very important and essential task, because if there is a job with stable income, the offender will not repeat recidivism.
Detention centers now provide vocational training to prisoners through signing contracts with vocational training centers. Labor results have brought great benefits.
Specifically, prisons have used revenue created by inmates to build workshops for prisoners to work, to organize vocational training courses for prisoners.
In addition, this source is also used to improve the meal of prisoners, to reward inmates with good reform achievements, encouraging prisoners with difficult circumstances and sickness, and to assist prisoners when they leave prison to reintegrate into the community.
Lt. Gen. Ho Thanh Dinh told a story about creating conditions for prisoners to work, with himself as the "insider". The story happened at Thu Duc Detention Center - a place where many criminals of national security were detained and reformed, when he was the supervisor. There was an inmate who was often "sick", complained and even tried to protest.
Prisoners are working under the supervision and guidance of officers and soldiers.
The Supervisory Board found measures to educate, at the same time created conditions for this prisoner to work through planting trees. The prison authorities "zoned" over 10sq.m of land right next to the cell of this prisoner to plant trees. Every day, this inmate worked on this plot of land to plant flowers and fruit trees.
Harvesting the first papaya, this inmate gave it to his daughter when she came to visit him and said emotionally, "This is the fruit of my labor. All my life I did many wrong things, here I got help, care from the staff who let me work so I can see all the value of labor, of life. I will try my best so I can go home soon."
Since then, this inmate actively reformed and no longer lodged complaints. From his experience, Lieutenant General Ho Thanh Dinh affirmed that, in order to educate people, especially those who committed crimes, they must definitely work.
Human evolution also has to be through labor. From work, people know how to think, perceive and appreciate their own values.
Lieutenant General Ho Thanh Dinh emphasized that labor is one of the mandatory measures to reform prisoners. This is also a way to help prisoners who return home after completing their prison term to find jobs and reintegrate into the community.
The Law on Execution of Criminal Judgments 2019 contains rights and obligations of prisoners, including the right to work, study, apprenticeship and obligations.
Articles 30 and 32 of this Law also contain specific provisions on the labor of prisoners.
Specifically: "Prisoners are divided into teams, groups to work, study and live"; “Inmates are organized to work suitable for their age and health and meet the requirements of management, education and community integration. Prisoners must work under the supervision and management of prisons and detention camps. The working time of a prisoner must not exceed 8 hours a day and 5 days a week, to be off on Sundays, public holidays, New Year holidays according to the provisions of law…; “Female prisoners are assigned to jobs in accordance with gender; not be arranged to do jobs without using female employees according to the provisions of the labor law”; "Inmates who are sick or have physical or mental defects, depending on the severity and nature of the disease and on the basis of medical indications of the prisons or detention camps, the working time is exempted or reduced"; “Inmates are entitled to work leave in the following cases: a) The offender is ill, does not have enough health for working and is certified by the prison health station; b) The offender is being treated at a medical facility; c) The offender has a child under 36 months old who is living with the mother in a prison and is sick with certification of the prison health station; d) Pregnant female inmates are entitled to work leave before and after giving birth according to the provisions of the labor law”.
With the above provisions, any inmates, Vietnamese citizens or foreigners, despite their legal status, are required to serve sentences in detention facilities and must work and learn a job to become useful people for society... In other words, labor is both the right and at the same time the duty of the offender in the process of serving the court's judgment in detention facilities.
The policies of the Party and State of Vietnam consider the labor of inmates in prisons not to be activities for business purposes but as labor activities, career guidance and vocational training.
With the motto of repression combined with leniency, punishment combined with reform, education, labor, career guidance, and vocational training for inmates contribute to improving those with the ideology of sticking, lazy working, not respectful labor products, into those who know how to value genuine, and organized, disciplined, technically skilled workers.