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Chinese and Western Prisons: Similarities and Differences, Part 3

NCJ Number
Corrections Compendium Volume: 32 Issue: 2 Dated: March/April 2007 Pages: 30-33
Gary Hill
Date Published
March 2007
4 pages
This third part of the three-part series that compares Chinese and Western prisons addresses teachers' professional levels and sources, vocational training methods, food service, religious services, inmate grievance procedures, visitation, parole, and community corrections.
In many Western countries, academic teachers and vocational instructors in prisons have relevant professional qualifications with teaching experience and higher education degrees. In China, most prison academic teachers and vocational training instructors do not have higher education degrees. In Western countries, prisons offer many vocational training programs designed to prepare inmates for a trade after their release. In China, the primary purpose of training inmates in vocational skills is to produce profit for prisons and inmates. The secondary purpose is to provide inmates with job skills related to the job market on the outside. In Western prisons, a food service manager or a registered dietitian prepares the inmates' menu, with attention to food requirements determined by an inmate's gender, age, and general activity level. In China, there is no uniform menu for the prisons in a jurisdiction, and there are no registered dietitians or written requirements for inmate menus. In China, inmates' religious beliefs are protected, and prison authorities permit some of their normal religious activities; however, there is no full-time prison chaplain. Contrary to Western prisons that have formal inmate grievance procedures, the Chinese prison system has no formal written inmate grievance procedure. A variety of procedures are used in solving inmates' complaints. Conjugal visits for inmates have an uneven development in Western prisons. In China, conjugal visits for inmates are increasing, with just over 60 percent of its prisons allowing it. Regarding parole, in China the parole authority is the court, which grants, denies, or revokes an inmate's parole on the basis of recommendations from the prison and other agencies.