Convicted drunk drivers performed cleaning duties at a public mortuary and funeral home in Kaohsiung City today, in a new program introduced by the city after a drunk driver plowed into a family of four last month, killing one, and leaving three seriously injured.
Shock among the public and officials following the December 26 case turned to outrage when it was found that the drunk driver had two previous convictions for the offense.
Kaohsiung City Mayor, Chen Chi-mai called together the District Prosecutor’s Office, Legal Affairs Bureau, Transportation Bureau, and other relevant units to research and discuss strategies for curbing drunk driving, and reducing the number of reoffenders. As a result of the meeting, it was decided to require those convicted of drunk driving to perform community service at the city’s funeral home.
The first batch of 11 convicted drunk driving offenders – 10 men and 1 woman – went to the Kaohsiung City Mortuary Services Office this morning, where they cleaned the morgue, the mortuary, and the crematorium. Chief Prosecutor of the District Prosecutor’s Office, Dong Hsiu-ching, and Chief Secretary of the Civil Affairs Bureau, Lin Wen-chi went to the funeral home to observe the experiment.
One of the offenders said that he had never been so close to a dead body before, and the experience had shocked him. “When I wiped the doors of the mortuary fridge, and realized there were corpses inside I felt deeply in my heart that I really need to be careful when driving in the future, and I should not drink and drive” the man said.
The offenders cleaned the floors, walls, refrigerators, trolleys, autopsy table, and other equipment, but did not come into contact with the remains of the dead.
The terms of the service require that no family members of the deceased are present, and no contact with the remains is made, including visual contact. The officials said that while tasks such as washing the corpse may have a punitive and deterrent affect on drunk drivers, out of respect for the deceased and their families, this will not be included in the range of prescribed tasks for drunk drivers performing community service at the mortuary for the time being.
Pictures: Kaohsiung City Government.
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