NA Raises Concerns Over Growing Jail Population

Source: Vientiane Times

National Assembly members are very concerned about the rising number of arrests and inmates in Lao jails with many of them being young people.

NA member for Saravan province, Mr Savankhone Razmountry, commented on draft reports presented recently by the Supreme People’s Prosecutor, People’s Supreme Court and the Ministry of Justice at the ongoing debate session.

“The number of arrests and the jail population has increased in many provinces. A lot of those incarcerated are young people who should be in the workforce and contributing to national protection and development,” Mr Savankhone said.

“Additionally, youngsters are increasingly the victims of road accidents, resulting in many becoming disabled and being killed, which is a great loss to the nation.”

Mr Savankhone, who is Deputy Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, said it was critical to create opportunities for young people to become good citizens and assist in the nation’s development.
He also said it was important to implement appropriate policies to take care of and guide young people based on humanitarian principles.

When sentencing offenders, Mr Savankhone said prosecutors should take into account the livelihoods of those arrested and the growing rate of incarceration. It was necessary to review approaches to rehabilitation and provide effective training programmes to ensure inmates could reintegrate into society and become useful citizens in the future.

It was also vital to ensure that vocational and life skills training for inmates is consistent with the needs of the labour market, both at present and in the future.

During the debate, Mr Savankhone congratulated the Supreme People’s Prosecutor, People’s Supreme Court and the Ministry of Justice for performing their roles and responsibilities based on the laws and resolutions of the NA over past years.

NA members have called for the law enforcement sector to strictly comply with the country’s legislation to better address legal cases and ensure more justice is delivered to the Lao people.

The contributions of these three sectors have resulted in the resolution of legal cases and societal conflicts in past years.

NA member for Xieng Khuang province, Mr Vilaysouk Phimmasone, called for law enforcement agencies to investigate whether the proceeds and properties confiscated from drug trafficking and other crimes had been added to the national budget.

Mr Vilaysouk observed that the responsibilities of prosecution officials, particularly at the provincial level, were not strictly followed and were sometimes inconsistent with the law.

For instance, arrests have sometimes been made without warrants. The authorities are obliged to free suspects within 48 hours if there is insufficient evidence to make a case against the accused but in many cases the authorities fail to follow this rule and suspects are kept in custody for more than the legally stipulated time.

 

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