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Date : May 26, 2023
North Korea cracks down on bribery in prisons
   https://www.rfa.org/english/news/korea/prison-05122023093846.html [350]
North Korea cracks down on bribery in prisons

According to former inmates in North Korea, the government is cracking down on prison officials who accept bribes from wealthy prisoners in exchange for preferential treatment. Bribery and corruption are prevalent in the country due to the low wages from government-assigned jobs. Police and government officials often exploit their positions to extract bribes from the public. In response to this issue, the government established the Justice and Discipline Investigation departments in 2021 to uncover corruption and illegal behavior.

In April, the investigation departments targeted correctional officers at Chungsan Prison in South Pyongan province. It was revealed that there was a "special cell" in the prison where wealthy prisoners who could afford bribes were given preferential treatment and exempted from hard labor. Those unable to afford the special cell could bribe their way into the cafeteria staff or livestock raising teams. The special cell privileges were highly sought after, with inmates paying several hundred U.S. dollars annually to secure them.

As a result of the inspection, several officials, including the head of Chungsan Prison, were fired for accepting bribes and providing special treatment to prisoners. The inmates who had bribed the officials also faced consequences, including temporary restrictions on family visits and additional years of hard labor added to their sentences. The inspection led to changes in prison policies, such as reducing face-to-face family visits to once every six months and separating new prisoners based on their occupation and crime.

While these measures are aimed at eliminating the source of bribes to prison officials, it remains uncertain whether they will be effective in curbing bribery and corruption within the prison system.

[Source: RFA]

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