Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) yesterday said he might ask the Ministry of Justice to stop building a therapy center for sex offenders in Greater Taichung, as residents in the neighborhood have expressed concern about their safety.
Construction of the center, located outside Taichung Prison, began in March and is expected to be completed in November.
Hu told the Greater Taichung Council that the ministry should communicate immediately with the city government and the neighborhood’s residents about the program.
If the ministry builds high walls around the building, locates it inside the prison grounds and residents from the neighborhood find these measures acceptable, he would agree to the construction, he said.
Hu accused the ministry of not clearly telling the city government that the building outside the prison was to accommodate dangerous criminals.
Dozens of residents from the neighborhood rallied against the treatment center outside the prison last week, saying that the building’s location outside the prison could make it easier for criminals to escape.
The protesters added that there are several schools in the vicinity and so the center could potentially place students at risk.
Taichung Prison spokesman Hsin Meng-nan (辛孟南) said there was no space inside the prison for the treatment center building.
He added that the public did not have to be concerned about their safety because the facility’s managers would face criminal charges if any criminals managed to flee.
In addition, the center would be equipped with high-tech monitoring systems with infrared alarms to ensure that nobody escapes.
“It will be more difficult to flee from the center than from the prison,” Hsin said.
The courts usually require that serious or repeat sex offenders attend a three-year therapy program after they complete their prison terms.