Taichung Prison reveals former president’s new cell

By Yang Cheng-chun and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Sun, Apr 21, 2013 - Page 3

An area previously set aside at Taichung Prison’s Pei Teh Hospital for the incarceration of former first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) has become an exclusive area for her husband, former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), during the extent of his stay at the prison, Taichung Prison authorities said.

Chen, serving a 20-year jail sentence for corruption, arrived at the prison’s hospital in Taichung at 7:20am on Friday after leaving Taipei Veterans General Hospital in Taipei at 5:30am.

Taichung Prison authorities said the area was set aside by the Ministry of Justice for Wu in the event she was to serve a jail sentence on bribery charges.

In 2011, the Taichung Prison authorities and China Medical University medical experts declared that Wu — who is paralyzed from the waist down — is unfit for prison and charged her son, Chen Chih-chung (陳致中), with her care while putting her under house arrest and barring her from leaving the country.

Taichung Prison deputy warden Chen Chin-feng (陳金鋒) said the entire area measures 243 ping (803m2), with the room housing the former president measuring 9.2 ping. In Taipei Prison, Chen Shui-bian had previously shared a 1.3 ping cell with another inmate.

Chen Chin-feng said the ward housing Chen Shui-bian at Pei Teh Hospital has a desk and bookshelf as requested.

There are plants in the room and the walls have been decorated with paintings and examples of calligraphy, Chen Chin-feng said, adding that it also contained a fold-up bed for use by medical personnel.

Taichung Prison authorities said that the Pei-te Hospital has formed a medical team focusing on Chen Shui-bian, adding that the team included doctors from China Medical University Hospital and the Tai-chung Veterans General Hospital.

The Pei Teh Hospital has all the necessary departments and staff to care for prison inmates, as well as having a few other specialized areas, prison authorities said.

Aside from the recuperation ward Chen Shui-bian has been assigned to, the hospital has a ward for psychiatric patients, a tuberculosis ward, a residential area for the terminally ill with 68 beds, blood analysis labs with 15 beds available for patients on dialysis, two surgical operating theaters and a common outpatient area.

The prison said it would not limit how many times Chen Shui-bian receives visitors, nor how long they can stay.

Chen Chin-feng also said that there is about 100 ping of empty space in the facility for Chen Shui-bian to exercise, adding that the former president may watch television and read newspapers.

Deputy Minister of Justice Chen Ming-tang (陳明堂) said Chen Shui-bian is the first prisoner in the nation’s history to have such facilities.