Tue, Jun 19, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Ministry seeks to allay fear about sex offender center

By Rich Chang  /  Staff reporter

Taichung city councilors, district heads and residents hold up a banner in Greater Taichung’s Nantun District yesterday, protesting against plans to establish a therapy center for sex offenders in their neighborhood.

Photo: Chang Ching-ya, Taipei Times

The Ministry of Justice said yesterday it would continue communicating with residents in Greater Taichung’s Nantun District (南屯) to allay their opposition to the construction of a therapy center for sex offenders in their neighborhood.

The ministry is building a therapy center for sex offenders outside Taichung Prison. Construction of the center began in March and is expected to be completed in November.

However, the construction was suspended last week after the Greater Taichung City Government asked the ministry to do so after local officials and Taichung residents voiced their opposition of the treatment center being located in the city.

In response, the ministry held a meeting with Nantun residents yesterday.

Ministry official Wu Hsien-chang (吳憲彰) said the center would be equipped with high-tech monitoring systems including infrared alarms to ensure that nobody escapes, adding that the facility’s sex offenders will also be required to wear electronic ankle monitors.

Residents in the area therefore do not have to worry about their safety, he said.

However, the roughly 300 people who attended the meeting remained unconvinced, and reiterated their opposition to the project being built in their neighborhood.

Opponents said there were several schools in the vicinity of the planned center and that the center could place students at risk.

Greater Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) said at a separate meeting yesterday that the ministry should do more to strengthen the center’s security and engage in dialogue with the neighborhood.

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