The National Human Rights Commission of Korea has asked the justice minister to draw up a measure to fully allow prisoners, including serious criminals, to make phone calls, as the use of telephones is recognized by the Constitution as one of the basic human rights needed to pursue happiness.The commission also said many major countries have recognized prisoners’ use of telephones as one of the rights to communicate with people outside jails, along with visits and letters.“We advised the justice minister to draw up a revision to relevant laws to allow inmates to make phone calls in principle,” the human rights watchdog, Tuesday.“Even before the revision is enacted, the justice minister is advised to expand the opportunities of inmates, including serious criminals, to make phone calls as much as possible, within a range that the measure does not harm the security at correctional facilities.”The commission issued the advice on Monday in response to a petition that prisoners’ basic human rights have been infringed upon since the Ministry of Justice’s new guidelines were implemented on Sept. 1 last year.

Under the new guidelines, the ministry banned serious criminals — categorized as S4 level — from making phone calls. As an exception, they are allowed to make phone calls twice a month under special circumstances.The ministry also restricted phone calls for other prisoners — categorized as S1 to S3 levels — to only five times a month.According to petitioners, an inmate asked a prison officer to allow him to call his mother who underwent lung cancer surgery, but the officer rejected it, saying telephone use can be allowed only when a family member is in a critical condition or dies.In their explanation submitted to the human rights watchdog, the justice ministry and prison officers said previous trial programs aimed at expanding telephone use for inmates were mostly abused as a means to destroy evidence or seek revenge.However, the commission said that restricting the use of telephones still does not conform to international human rights standards.Regarding concerns over abuse and misuse of expanded telephone use, it said, “The country 슬롯사이트 already has a variety of measures to prevent such abuses.”

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