The White Rose Social Care Association (WRSCA) and lawmakers yesterday called on the government to accelerate the process of amending the Sexual Assault Crime Prevention Act (性侵害防治法) to keep sex offenders institutionalized after their release from jail.
“A total of 66 lawmakers across party lines have expressed their support for amendments to keep sex offenders who are likely to repeat their crime after serving jail time to be further institutionalized until they are fully reformed,” a spokesman for the WRSCA, who wished to be known only as Eva Liang, told a press conference at the legislature.
The government has begun the process of inviting bids for a post-jail correction center, which should be completed in 2013, she said.
“However, without amendments to the law, such an institution would be illegal,” Liang said. “It would be something that, after an investment of millions of New Taiwan dollars, could not be used.”
“Several legislators have drafted their own versions of amendments, but where is the government’s version? Maybe the government has different ideas, but if the discussion doesn’t start soon, agreements would never be made,” Liang said.
Although not required by law, it is common practice for the legislature to await the submission of a draft bill or draft amendment by the government and review all the versions simultaneously.
Answering the doubts of some human rights organizations that the measure could constitute a rights violation, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇) said the idea was to “help released sex offenders to reform, not to further imprison them after they have completed their sentence.”
“That’s why we need to revise the law to define it clearly,” Tien said. “In fact, such a measure is in place in many countries, including the US and Germany.”
Recently, a sex offender institutionalized after serving jail time was released after the measure was declared unconstitutional by a court, Tien said.
“Within one month of leaving the institution, he raped and killed a little girl,” she said.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lu Hsueh-chang (呂學樟), the convener of the legislature’s Judiciary, Organic Laws and Statutes Committee, also showed his support.
“Thinking of those innocent victims, it makes me feel that I’ve not done my job as a lawmaker if the law is not amended,” he said.
“Let’s not wait for the government’s version. I’ll call a meeting to review all draft amendments that have been submitted by lawmakers so far,” he added.