Go To Content

Lyudao Prison, Agency of Corrections, Ministry of Justice:Back to homepage


Hardship in pioneering work, establishment and history of the prison

  • Publication Date :
  • Last updated:2023-01-16
  • View count:2951

1.  The origin and establishment of Taiwan Lyudao Prison

  In the 1960s, many vicious prisoners in Taiwan usually caused trouble so prisons could not remain stable. Responsible for prison business then, the chief director of Taiwan High Court Prison Section( Note 1), Mr. Yao Zhi-qing, thought of choosing an appropriate location and establishing a prison of strict management and absolute isolation in order to put such vicious prisoners together.
  There was a military command post located at Green Island on the sea around Taitung County at that time. It was responsible for gangster management and the imprisonment of political prisoners in all military prisons in Taiwan. There was only one military jeep on the island. The only external exportation was Lanyu Ferryboat which came to the island several times a week. It stayed at the harbor for an hour each time, providing islanders with daily necessities. The other transportation was military wooden ships (Jin Xing Fu) providing armies with daily supply. The harbor of Green Island was a small harbor without water, electricity, and telephone. It featured in the absolute isolation from Taiwan. Therefore, Green Island became the first choice of Mr. Yao Zhi Qing as the special prison. He planed to report the establishing project of Taiwan Lyudao Prison to the government. The approved budget for establishing Lyudao Prison was 8 million NTD. The prison would be built up by prisoners. Mr. Yao Zhi Qing would visit Green Island for choosing the location of prison.
(Note 1: since 1949 to 1972, Ministry of Justice adopted the old system used in Mainland China. Local prisons were still under the supervision of Taiwan High Court. In October, 1972, Ministry of Justice drew up "Program of Improving Prison Supervision Rights" for improving the supervision effect of prisons. Prisons were legally turned into subordinations of Ministry of Justice. Taiwan High Court Prison Section was deactivated and related personnel were reunited into Prison Bureau. Source of the information: Ministry of Justice, Historical Stamp: One Hundred Valuable Prison Documents, p29, 2009.)

2.  Planning business of selecting capable people

  Before the establishment of the prison, Ministry of Justice and Taiwan High Court recruited the planning staff. With the recommendation of Mr. Zhang Jin-ming, the secretary of Hsinchu Juvenile Prison, Mr. Zhang Jian-jin, was responsible for the planning of establishment and became the first warden of Taiwan Green Island. After receiving the order, Mr. Zhang Jian-jin selected his personnel with leadership and building techniques, including Mr. Li Zheng-jie serving as Chief in Section of Custody and Security, Mr. Jian Xi-hu serving as Chief in Section of Operation (with building techniques), Mr. Xie Lai-chuan serving as Chief in Section of General Affairs, and Mr. Li Bing-chang serving as the secretary, staying in Taitung Prison, and supervising the building business for his warden. Other personnel were designated by Ministry of Justice or Executive Yuan.
  Then, through someone's introduction, a previous taskmaster of a contractor was employed as the operative illustrator. Later, several technicians of water, electricity, carpentry, and cement were employed with a managerial staff's salary. However, their salary was far less than social technicians and workers at that time, so they were willing to work in Green Island after they got more subsidies. Other required managerial staff was sincere and well-behaved local young islanders with expertise in cement, carpentry, and three-wheeled cart driver. They joined in the establishment of the prison. Then the official and civil personnel were almost ready.
  Later, the department ordered all prisons to assist with the establishment. 80 willing criminals with building techniques or strength were selected to serve as workers. They would enjoy better conditions for their parole and other better treatments. After their investigation, these criminals were removed to Taiwan Taitung Prison together and got ready there. 

3. Background of architectural blueprint preparation

  For saving the budget of construction designing, Warden Zhang Jian-jin designed the wire-pole-shaped construction chart and selected special criminals with special skills. Finally, he knew a criminal who had been an architect before imprisonment. The criminal was willing to transfer to Taiwan Taitung Prison for his rest prison term. He would cooperate with Warden Zhang to draw the construction blueprint of Lyudao Prison.
  With two people's constant and painstaking cooperation, the blueprint was completed after two months. Besides granting the criminal working pension, he bought night snacks for the criminal every night during that period for encouraging him to save the budget of construction designing. After the blueprint was completed, managerial staff of local islanders was gathered in the office of Taitung Prison for copying the construction material analysis for almost 60 days. After the construction designing was ready, it was sent to qualified architects and associations in Taitung for examination. After the examination was passed, the warden reported to Department of Justice and got ready for the construction. 

4.  The establishment of the planning committee

  Mr. Guan Guo-wei, Premier of Taitung District Court, served as the chairman of the planning committee, Mr. Huang Zun-qiu, Chief Prosecutor in District Prosecutors Office, as the vice chairman, Mr. Huang Shao-qing, Taitung Prison Warden, as a committee member, and Warden Zhang Jian-jin as the general secretary.
  After the planning committee was established, Warden Zhang usually went to the coast along Taitung, meditating and looking at the sea. He gazed at the chicken-heart-shaped island on the sea-Green Island. He couldn't help sighing because he had no idea about how to transfer so many large construction materials to the site on Green Island. One day, he thought of the instructions by Dr. Sun Yat-sen that "though removing the mountain and stuffing the ocean were both difficult, I will make it as long as I remain confident." He became confident from then on and his worry was released. He took the instruction as his motto of establishing the prison. It gave him the power to accomplish the difficult job all the way.

史實紀要6 史實紀要1
Mr. Zhu Shi-lie (the one standing in the center), Chairman Guan Guo-wei, Vice Chairman Huang Zun-qiu, and Warden Jiang Guan-hong were holding the planning meeting. The memorial picture for the establishment of the planning committee.
5. Overcome the difficulty of transferring construction materials

  Initially, out of the planning committee's prediction, the inconvenient transportation was the best condition for building an isolated prison in Green Island. However, it became a major problem for the construction, too. The committee consulted with Taitung County Government for loaning Lanyu Ferryboat as the transportation vehicle of construction materials. However, though the ferryboat was allowed to transfer the materials with the price on the market, it transported passengers and daily necessities only. Besides, its main mission was to supply daily necessities for islanders. It sailed around and stayed at the island for an hour only. The staying period was too short so the loaning plan was given up after evaluation.
  Then the committee consulted with the Navy for requiring the army to help with the transportation. After several times of negotiation, several difficulties of transportation were resolved so the army agreed to transport the materials with landing crafts. They promised to send two crafts for this mission. However, there was no storage for storing the materials at both ports at Taitung and Green Island. They were afraid that cement was not endurable for long-term storage. The establishment was not a short-term project so the cooperation with the army failed again.
  Luck belonged to diligent people. After consulting with Ministry of National Defense, Green Island Command Post had wooden ships sailing for several time each month for providing soldiers in the command post with daily necessities. After several times of negotiation, the command post agreed to offer wooden ships to transport construction materials. As for main construction materials for the establishment of the prison, heavy materials such as bricks and steel bars were uploaded at Taitung Shinggang Harbor. The strategy solved the problem of shallow harbors at Taitung Fugang Harbor and Green Island. Other light materials were transported with the larger fishing boat, De Long Number Three. The establishing project of Lyudao Prison was finally begun. 

6. The negotiation for the land of the prison
  After sending people to investigate the construction base for several times, the planning committee decided to establish the prison at Chongliao Village, Green Island Township. It is the present location of the prison. For buying the land of the prison, the Township Chief, Mr. Chen Tian-fei, held land buying negotiation meeting at KMT Green Island Branch office. There were about 20 land owners participating in the meeting (each of them owned a small part of the land). The negotiation meeting was held for five times but the land owners were unwilling to sell their land. The planning committee met another difficult position.
  In the negotiation meeting, land owners insisted that "we have the small land only, growing yam and peanut as our stable food. The money for selling the land will be consumed in a short time. What will we live by without the land in the future?"
The Township Head, Mr. Chen Tian-fei, held the land purchase negotiation meeting at KMT Green Island Branch office.
Taitung Prison Warden Huang Shao-qing (center), Township Chief Chen Tian-fei (right), and Section Chief Chen Ding-fu (left) surveyed the prison land and the urns beside the Ye Po Luo. 
  Finally, Mr. Chen advised land owners that "people will come to Green Island after certain organization is established here. People will come here and spend money and islanders' life will get improved then. Besides, young islanders are employed as workers. The prison will create job opportunities." Besides the positive advice, the prison staff persuaded the land owners actively that if they remained unwilling to sell the land, their land would be levied by the government. Both parties reach the agreement finally.
  The budget for buying the land of the prison included the land cost 300,000 NTD, the removing cost of ten tombs for 50,000 NTD. After the investigation, so-called tombs were urns beside the "Ye Po Luo" (Note 2).
(Note 2: Ye Po Luo is screw pine, belonging to pandanaceae. It is also called Lou Dou Shu or Hua Lou Dou. It is a large perennial evergreen bush (reach 3~5 meter high). Most trees are straight but grown up branches get twisting with each other. It presents the looks of half rattan.)
 Warden Zhang Jian-jin (the one holding the leaf hat on the left) and Section Chief Chen Ding-fu (right) surveyed the prison land.
From the right side, Chairman Guan Guo-wei, Vice Chairman Huang Zun-qiu, Township Chief Chen Tian-fei, Section Chief Chen Ding-fu, Committee member Huang Shao-qing, and Warden Zhang Jian-jin surveyed the prison land.

Go Top