SEOUL, Feb. 12 (Korea Bizwire) – The Supreme Court of Korea’s mock sentencing program has proved a great success, attracting interest from thousands of people.
The online educational program, which was designed to inform the public about the criminal sentencing process, has been accessed by over 35,000 people since it was released last month, according to the Supreme Court.
Devised by the sentencing commission, the educational initiative provides participants with video footage of criminal acts such as murder and theft, alongside opinions from the defendant, the defense attorney, and the prosecutor, before giving them a chance to contemplate the sentencing of a criminal on their own based on the records and evidence presented.
Officials say the program has had a positive impact on the participants so far, as prison sentences became significantly less extreme after they took part in the online sentencing experience program.
Participants tended to make a rushed judgement after reading a summary of cases at first, dishing out life sentence and probation. However, the number of lengthy prison sentences dropped after taking part in the program, with sentences longer than 10 years down from 14.5 percent to 2.8 percent.
“By considering all the factors in criminal sentencing more seriously, it seems extreme choices have been avoided,” one Supreme Court official said.
One participant, a high school teacher, praised the program and suggested that mock sentencing could be used in law and political science classes.
“I have had my fair share of dissatisfaction with the sentencing process in the past, I think there should be more efforts to better explain verdicts that go against public sentiment to the public,” one law student said after taking part in the program.
The educational program created by the Supreme Court comes amid growing skepticism about the criminal justice system in the country.
Last year, reports of a 12-year sentence for child rapist Cho Doo-soon prompted wide condemnation of the justice system, with over 380,000 signatures collected on the Blue House’s official online petition site to block Cho from being released from prison.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)