為甚麼減刑不公平——權力視角下減刑制度的背離與修正

Why is the Commutation Unfair —— Deviation and Correction of the Commutation System from the Perspective of Power

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

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Award date9 Nov 2022

Abstract

减刑,是我国司法实践中适用最多的监禁刑变更制度,其能否公平公正地实施,直接影响我国刑罚的有效执行及刑法的实施效果。当前社会舆论普遍认为,腐败是导致减刑不公正的主要原因,正是执法司法的腐败影响了减刑公正的实现。自2021年开始的全国政法队伍教育整顿活动,将违规违法减刑定义为“六大顽瘴痼疾”之一,官方的定义似乎印证了民间共识的合理性。但反观违法减刑的重大案件,如孙小果案的查处结果,却令人质疑这一共识是否确当。孙小果的家庭背景,权钱交易的金额,涉案官员的级别等,都与外界猜测不符,腐败似乎不能提供完整的解释。带着对腐败论的疑问,转而探究减刑制度本身,是本文的研究起点。

在中国,减刑制度的法律定位明确,其目的是为了激励罪犯改造,减刑作为激励措施,应当给予确有悔改表现的罪犯。为确保制度目的的实现,减刑程序被设计为监狱提请、法院审理、检察院监督的司法模式,这种权力分置的程序设计目的在于充分发挥监督制约机制,确保法定的制度定位充分实现。但在实践中,由于法定减刑条件过于模糊,导致监狱的提请权过大,减刑已经由以审判为中心的司法裁判异化为以提请为中心的监管措施,并由“悔改”减刑异化为“听话”减刑。程序设计的监督制约目的并未实现,而是成为缺乏内在正当性的减刑“流水线”。这种实践中的减刑福利化和减刑程序的形式化,严重影响了减刑制度本身目的的实现,进而成为减刑不公正的核心体现。

实践中这种制度运行背离设计初衷的现象,在政治哲学上被称为制度的背离。从外在形态看,减刑制度的背离表现为减刑制度的设计、执行和效果上的背离。在内部机理上,减刑制度的背离表现为价值、功能和目的的背离。对于减刑制度背离的成因,既有文献往往从权利视角出发,认为在减刑程序中缺乏罪犯权利的参与或保障,会造成应为司法程序的减刑程序形式化,进而影响减刑实体公正的实现,造成减刑制度的背离。

为了弥补既有文献权利视角的不足,使研究更贴合减刑制度的运行实际,本文从权力技术理论的视角出发,提出减刑制度背离的深层次原因在于减刑程序链条上权力的变异,即减刑提请权的异化和司法权、检察监督权的虚化。并运用福柯的权力/知识理论和组织社会学理论论证了减刑程序链条中各权力异化和虚化的原因。首先,以福柯的权力/知识理论中关于监狱规训权力的阐述,分析了减刑提请权异化为监狱以规训为目的的刑罚执行权的附庸,同时,以该理论关于权力/知识场域的阐述分析了监狱封闭的自循环权力/知识场域对法院裁判、检察院监督形成了客观障碍,辅之以组织社会学关于组织与环境关系的阐述,尤其是关于技术环境和制度环境的合法性机制理论,说明了减刑领域内权力运行资源不足的困境,解释了以提请权为中心的执法司法共议格局的成因,即在监狱以封闭和自循环为特点的权力/知识场域形成后,为维护监管秩序,缓解监管压力,减刑被监狱用作规训罪犯服从的工具,减刑提请异化为规训罪犯的监管措施。人、财、物等资源供给的不足,使得权力运行无法满足技术环境的合法性机制要求,导致司法权、检察监督权无法有效运行。在中国特色的政法体制下,制度环境合法性机制的要求形成了以提请为中心的共议格局,减刑一旦不符合制度环境合法性机制的要求,将导致社会效果不佳。因此,为确保符合环境的合法性机制,减刑司法权和检察监督权没有监督制约的动力,同时由于权力运行的资源不足以及面临的客观障碍,减刑司法权和检察监督权缺乏监督制约的能力。在有机结合两种理论分析并论证了减刑制度背离的根本性原因后,本文有针对性的提出修正减刑制度的建议,从修正刑罚的相关理论入手,完善减刑的司法模式、调整减刑的实体条件、扩大提请材料的覆盖范围。由于减刑制度背离的主要原因是权力配置不合理,因此应当适度调整权力结构,将减刑提请权分为提请申请权和提请决定权,由监狱和检察院分别行使,将提请决定权从监狱的刑罚执行权中剥离出来赋予检察院,使检察院直接嵌入到减刑程序并就提请决定承担责任,切实发挥检察监督的作用,有效防止提请权的异化。同时,为切实保障权力机关的有效运行,还应加大资源投入,诸如制度、人力和技术等。本文还提出,为了进一步完善减刑制度,充分发挥制度功效,应当深化减刑制度的改革。为此,应当转变重刑主义的国家治理观,完善减刑、假释制度之间的衔接,并增加减刑撤销程序。

本文正文共分五章。在第一章导论之后,本文的第二章提出了导致减刑不公的真正原因,并非违法违规减刑中的腐败问题,而是合法合规减刑的表象下所隐藏的制度背离问题,核心体现为正义维度上的双重背离,既体现在背离实体正义的减刑福利化,又体现在背离程序正义的减刑形式化。同时指出,减刑制度的背离不仅表现在纵向层面上外部形态的背离,即从制度设计、执行和效果的背离。而且表现在横向层面上发生的目的、价值和功能的背离。本文的第三章以权力技术理论为视角,运用福柯在透视和分析监狱诞生时创立的权力/知识理论,分析监狱提请权异化的原因。以组织社会学中组织与环境的关系为切入点,阐明了组织的生存不仅依赖于资源的供给,更应符合制度环境、技术环境的双重合法性机制要求,并借此剖析了审判权、检察监督权的虚化,以及共议格局下以提请权为中心的权力结构的形成。指出正是此种权力的实际行使状况,使得以审判为中心的制度设想被现实中以提请为中心的运行实际所取代,减刑制度发生了背离。在第三章的基础之上,第四章提出了减刑制度的改革路径和具体方案,即应当修正和完善减刑制度,坚持程序正当的公正价值,加大权力运行的资源投入,调整减刑程序的权力结构。第五章是结论和展望。结论部分总结了本文的主旨,即要纠正减刑制度的背离,应始终坚持对公正价值的追求,完善权力的资源配置和结构安排,使权力之间的制约监督切实有效,具备减刑制度公正实施的前提和基础。建基于此,本章提出了对未来减刑制度发展的展望,期待未来能够形成各权力机关各司其职、制约有力、权责对等的良性工作机制,确保减刑制度的依法公正实施。
Commutation is the most widely applied imprisonment penalty altering system in China’s criminal justice practice. The fairness of commutation directly affects the effectiveness of imprisonment penalty or even the criminal law. Public generally believes that corruption should be blamed for the wrongfully applied commutation. It is the corrupted behavior occurring in both law enforcement and judicial process that leads to the injustice in commutation practice. Since 2021, China has undertaken Concentrated Education and Rectification of Political and Legal Department, which considered the commutation that against rules as one of “six stubborn diseases”. Such confirms the social consensus. However, with the review of certain commutation cases, Sun Xiaoguo for example, appropriateness of the opinion is under question. Sun Xiaoguo's family background, the amount of power and money transactions, the rank of the officials involved, etc., are not in line with outside speculation, corruption itself can not suffice to cover all the truth. Bearing doubts on the theory of corruption, I decide to explore the commutation system as the starting point of this Paper.

In China, the purpose of commutation system is specific and encourages the rehabilitation of criminals. Criminals who exhibit repentance should be commuted as incentive. To achieve the goal, the process to reduce sentences is designed as requested by prisons, trialed by courts and supervised by procuratorate. But in practice, due to the vagueness of enacted law, prison officers normally hold far more power than courts and prosecutors. They weigh obedience on repentance, which alienate the system form judicial-centered to request-centered. The operation of system deviates from the conceiving purpose, which is called the deviation of system in political philosophy. Externally, such deviation is in its designing, implementing, and effectiveness. Internally, it manifests in value, function and purpose. To fix the inadequacy of right perspective in existing literature and to make the study consistent with the practice of system, the Paper adopts the view of power-technology theory, analyzes the reasons for the occurrence of alienation by applying Foucault's power/knowledge theory. Based on the theory of legitimate mechanism of existence and development of organization in Organization Sociology, this Paper shows a dilemma of insufficient resources in the power operation of commutation system and explains a pattern that centered on the power of request, with the joining of law enforcement officers and judiciary. The Paper further proposes that to rectify and improve commutation system, we should stick up to the fair value of due process, increase resources for power operation and make adjustment for power allocation in the procedure.

From the perspective of power technology theory, this Paper discusses the deep-seated institutional reasons that lead to injustice in commutation, explores different kinds of interpretations, enriches a variety of theories to analyze the problem, and puts forward a series of targeted reform plans for the commutation system. The text is divided into five chapters.

After the first chapter of introduction, the second chapter raises the true causes of unfair commutation, which is not previously believed corruption, but the institutional deviation hidden under the appearance of legal commutation. In political philosophy, the institutional deviation is usually that the procedural justice deviates from the substantive justice. However, in speaking of reducing sentences, it exhibits double deviations in dimension of justice. Substantially, remission is becoming more like welfare. Procedurally, it is more like formalization. In the double deviation from the dimension of justice, not only manifested as commutation welfare deviated from substantive justice, but also manifested in the formalization of commutation deviated from procedural justice. Vertically, it is against the designing, implementing and effectiveness of commutation system. Horizontally, it is inconsistent with its purpose, value and function. In short, by sorting out cases and data, this chapter proposes that unfair commutation comes from system itself but not in corruption of officers or judges.

From the perspective of power operation, the third chapter analyzes reasons of alienation by adopting Foucault’s theory of power/knowledge, which is created by his observation and analysis of birth of prison. Starting from the connection between organization and environment in organization sociology, this Paper expounds that the survival of organization depends not only on the supply of resources, but also should meet the dual legitimacy mechanism requirements of institutional environment and technical environment. The Paper examines the alienation of judicial power, procurator supervision power, and the formation of the power structure that centered on request under the pattern of joint consensus. With the formation of the power/knowledge field characterized by closure and self-circulation in the prison, prisons use commutation as a tool to discipline criminals to maintain the order and ease pressure. The commutation requests are alienated into a measure to discipline criminals. The insufficient supply of manpower, finance, materials and other resources make power operation impossible to meet the legitimacy mechanism requirements of the technical environment, causing the ineffective operation of judicial power and procurator supervision power. Under the political and legal institution with Chinese characteristic, the requirements of the institutional environment legitimacy mechanism call for a joint consensus pattern centered on request. Once the remission does not meet the requirements of the institutional environment legitimacy mechanism, it will lead to unworthy social effects. In consequence, the conceiving system centered on trial is replaced by the actual operation that is centered on request.

On the basis of the third chapter, the fourth chapter puts forward a reform path with specific schemes. By revising relevant theories of criminal penalty, we could optimize the judicial decision mode, adjust the substantive legal conditions and expand the coverage of application materials. Since the unreasonable allocation of power is the primary cause for the occurrence of deviation, we should redesign the power structure, dividing the request power into the request application power that is holding by prison and the request decision power that is holding by procuratorate. The request decision power is endowed to procuratorate so that it can take part in the commutation process and responsible for the request decision. The procuratorate can actually function and effectively prevent alienation. Meanwhile, to ensure the effective operation authorities, we should also increase resources, such as, manpower and technologies, etc. This chapter also proposes that to further improve the commutation system for its effectiveness. To this end, it is necessary to change the National Governance View of severe punishment doctrine, enhance the connection between the commutation and the parole, and set up the commutation revocation procedure.

The fifth chapter is conclusion and expectation. The conclusion summarizes the main points of this Paper, that is, to correct the deviation of the commutation system, we should always pursue justice, increase resources and guarantees of power operation, adjust the power structure, improve the power allocation, and make the power under restraints and supervised. Only by the reasonable allocation of powers, can the commutation system have solid foundations for substantive review required by justice. Based on the conclusion, this chapter provides expectations for the development of commutation system, which is to build a sound working mechanism that all organs of powers can fully perform their duties, restrain their powers and responsible for their decisions, so as to ensure the fair implementing of the commutation system by law.

    Research areas

  • commutation fairness, perspective of power, system deviation, substantive justice, procedural justice