More on what ‘rehab’ is like in Taiwan: Alcatraz!

Are maximum-security-like conditions really necessary - or appropriate - for handling petty offenses, such as drug possession? Or in this case, testing positive (marginally) for marijuana? You be the judge.
The Wild East / Society

What is ‘rehab’ like in Taiwan? From the following account, it’s pretty much like Alcatraz, except for the few hours a day of forced ‘meditation’. This year, a foreigner tested on the margin of error for having smoked marijuana, and was forced to go to rehab for a month — except there was no ‘rehabilitation’ in this rehab!

The room doesn’t have a bed. It is just a raised 6 x 6 wooden platform about 6 inches off the ground. There are cockroaches and termites and they live in the wood. Most people will get a hold of some glue and newspaper and fill the holes so they don’t come out and bite you at night.

You have to stay in the room 23 hours and 45 minutes a day Monday to Friday. They let you out for about 15 minutes of group stretching and arm swinging, This lasts about 5-6 minutes, the rest of the time you can talk with the other inmates. If it rains then you don’t go out at all that day and never on the weekends. Everyone just lays on the floor on a blanket. With three people that’s about 2 feet wide for each person.

They sell you a blanket when you get in along with a toothbrush, slippers, an undershirt. If you don’t have money you’re out of luck! They never turn out the lights and you are on camera the whole time for safety purposes.

Everything is regimented by time.

A basic day goes like this:

Around 6:45 they yell down the hall to wake up.
Then they open the doors one by one and call out your number so they know you are still there.
You should have put away your blankets by now in the corner of your room.
Brush your teeth.
Then they yell “breakfast.”
They make 2 passes down the hall. You put your bowls in the hole in the wall and they fill them up on the first pass, when they get to the end they turn around and make another pass, this is when you put the food you didn’t want to eat in back in the hole and they throw it away.
Around 9:20, they turn on the water for about 15 minutes. Inmates stand ready for the water to turn on because this is when you fill up your containers, usually about 5 three gallon buckets, take a shit, and wash the toilet.
Then comes meditation for about an hour you can’t read, move, or talk.
Then you can lay back down on the ground for about an hour; otherwise you can only sit or stand.
Then it’s ‘exercise’.
Then lunch.
Then the water comes on again for about 15 minutes. This is when you have to hurry because it’s the only time you are allowed to shower.
What we did was one person washes everyone’s laundry while another person showers on the toilet. The room is 6×10 but 6×6 of that is taken up for the sleeping area so you have a 4×6 space with a toilet on one end, the buckets of water stacked at the other and the guy washing clothes in the middle. It’s small!

So you get about 5 minutes to shower while sitting on a toilet without a seat, just the bowl, and a ladle to pour water on yourself. The water is cold and feels good in the summer but sucks in the winter.

You also have to refill the water buckets because you need this water to flush the toilet after you pee, poo, brush your teeth, or wash dishes. So you gotta move fast.

Then it’s meditation again.
Then it’s dinner.
Then you can lay down again around 7 pm.
Then it’s quiet time from around 8 to 9 pm, and you have to be asleep by about 9:30 pm.

The next day same thing and so on.

You can get books to read through the prison. Sometimes newspapers come through, usually by throwing them across the hall to friends when the guard isn’t watching as everyone is lined up getting ready to go outside.

The thing that pisses me off the most is that the cops stole 7000NT (US$250) off my night stand, cut open the bottoms of my landlord’s couches, and ripped an arm of another sofa.

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