The Future Trend of Supermax Confinement in Taiwan: A Reflection From the American Supermax Perspectibe

Yung-Shun Huang, Taiwan Chiayi Prison
Ming-Wei Chiu, Sam Houston State University

The value of supermax prisons in the United States is still in debate. Those who support supermax prisons argue that by segregating the violent, disruptive, and assaultive inmates from others, it makes prison a safer place. Other people, however, criticize that supermax prisons can cause more trouble than merits. One of the most often ited problems is the inclusion of mentally ill inmates in the supermax prisons. For those inmates who are diagnosed as having mental health problems, the isolated imprisonment may worsen their syndromes. Until now, the debates are still on going and have not been solved yet, despite the accumulation of research on this topic.

Facing the increasing number of extremely violent and uncontrollable inmates in prisons, the Justice Department of Taiwan also considers the feasibility of implementing supermax prisons. Due to the differences in culture and correctional systems between Taiwan and the United States, we cannot just replicate the system from the United States. Therefore, it is necessary to re-examine the nature and the operation of the American supermax prisons from the perspective of Taiwanese correctional system before we rush into the actual implementation of supermax prisons in Taiwan.

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Updated 05/20/2006