The Experience of How a Mega-Prison is Governed: A Taiwanese Case on the Management of Tainan Prison

Hua-Fu Hsu

Imprisonment in Taiwan is conducted by a system of mega-prisons in which the incarcerated populations are extremely large. This paper, based on empirical research to investigate one Taiwanese prison institution_Tainan Prison, aims to explore how a high density of prison population is managed without causing any obvious disturbances or riots. The nature of regime and authority will be examined. Tainan prison holds a large number of inmates up to 3,852 according to prison statistics report provided by the Governing Broad of Tainan Prison and is famous for its long history, having been in existence since the earliest emergence of imprisonment as a penal sanction in 1895 in Taiwan. The sources consulted in the analysis include documentary materials, interview data and observation. Tainan Prison will be taken as an explicit example to show how the techniques of disciplinary power and governing strategies are combined to shape structural relationships in which a multiplicity of forces is coordinated into physical, architectural and organizational features. The experience will be very valuable to the practitioners and wardens of American corrections in which the prison population is escalated and also be useful to American readers to extend the penal knowledge in prison management.

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Updated 05/20/2006