S. Korea officials visit juvenile justice center (video)
July 10, 2013 at 2:10 a.m.
Updated July 11, 2013 at 2:11 a.m.
South Korea is taking notes from the Lone Star State when it comes to criminal justice.
The men - Heongu Lee, director of research and development, and See Kook Son, director of general affairs - studied the dimensions of the facility's single occupancy cells, which are somewhat of a novelty overseas.
Gigi Lee, a legislative liaison for state Sen. John Whitmire, acted as their translator.
In Korea, up to 10 inmates may be held in a multi-occupancy room, which has not been an issue until recently. Women are also separated from men at all times, and drug-related offenses are rare because the punishment is so severe. No Korean resident is allowed to carry a gun. Even police decline to, Gigi Lee said.
"Their culture is changing," she said. "They are going to build single cells."
The men, who are on a global tour to learn how other countries maintain their prison systems, already have secured funding for the project. They will construct a new facility on a campus that already holds seven others that range in age from 15 to more than 30 years old, Heongu Lee said through a translator.
Texas found smaller facilities to be more manageable. In a dorm-like setting, fights could break out, said Pama Hencerling, chief probation officer.
"Kids who are in here, they have behavioral problems in the first place. Otherwise, they would not be here," Hencerling said.
They also like claiming a space as their own.