Tue, Jul 17, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Freed inmates hopeful yet fearful of challenges ahead

UNCERTAIN FUTURE While many were happy to be free again, some said they were worried their criminal record might work to their disadvantage when looking for jobs

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

Most of the inmates released yesterday under a sentence commutation statute face a life full of hopes and challenges, although some of them look forward to it with trepidation.

An anonymous inmate who was discharged from the Taichung Prison told reporters he was happy to be released earlier than expected, but now faces the problem of finding a job.

The 46-year-old, who was sentenced to 11 years for causing the death of a victim by injury, said that, after serving five years, he had few outside contacts and was worried that his criminal record and his age would undermine his opportunities to find work.

Another inmate discharged from Taichung Prison was also uncertain what to do after walking free.

The man, who enrolled in the National Open University while behind bars, carried his books from his cell. He said he would spend a few days thinking about what to do next, while continuing his studies.

Also facing an uncertain future was a 33-year-old female inmate released from Taichung Prison.

The women, surnamed Hsieh (), could give birth at any time, but has no home to return to.

The unmarried woman was sentenced to six months for theft and served her term because she could not afford a fine in lieu of being jailed.

Hsieh was already four months pregnant when she reported to prison authorities on March 9.

As she had no one who would accommodate her after her release, prison officials asked a charity in Hualien to take care of her at least until she delivers her baby.

The Taichung Prison had lined up an ambulance to escort the woman to the charity in Hualien yesterday.

A female jail official said she was worried about how Hsieh would look after herself and her child outside the jail.

Despite all these problems, freedom is still valuable, an inmate discharged from the Taipei Prison said.

After being identified by only a number in jail, the inmate said he was glad he could now go by his name, adding that he would treasure the chance to use his name and would never muddy it again.

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