News that a prison warden was detained last week for allegedly taking bribes from prisoners has revived interest in previous cases of alleged bribery of prison officials.
An investigation into a similar case in Taitung indicates that the prisoners’ bribes might have been mainly for electronic devices, that could store pornographic films for the prisoners.
The finding surprised investigators looking into the Taitung case, who had expected cash and drugs to be the items most desired by prisoners.
Taitung prosecutors and officials at the Yanwan Vocational Training Institute launched an investigation in 2012 into two corrections officers who were allegedly taking bribes from prisoners in exchange for feasts.
The investigation eventually turned up more cases of corruption among officers at the correctional institute, who took money in exchange for allowing prisoners to smoke, giving them easier assignments and bringing them things they wanted from outside the prison.
That is when investigators found electronic products were the most popular items.
In the past, prisoners had tried to obtain pornographic books and magazines, but media players are now more popular because they are small and easy to carry and provide audio and video, the investigators said.
Following the completion of the investigation into the Taitung case, one corrections officer was indicted in late August for taking a NT$10,000 bribe.
Three other officers were not indicted, but face administrative punishments.
Meanwhile, a newly opened museum in Taitung is displaying artworks made by the prisoners at the institute, along with restricted items found at the Taitung Detention Center, which was disbanded in 2001.
Among the exhibits are pornographic books, cigarettes and fruit wine made by prisoners, and pencils used by prisoners for tattooing.
Having tattoos was considered the fastest way to fit into the prison community.
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