Friendly police officer helps former inmates build better lives

July 06, 2023 - 10:02
Lieutenant Colonel Nguyễn Thanh Nam, the Chief of Police of Đạ Huoai District, said Kiên's support to former inmates saw positive results when they were released from prison. 


Major Hoàng Trung Kiên on the way to visit local former inmates after working hours. — VNA/VNS Photos Nguyễn Dũng

LÂM ĐỒNG — On the durian hills in Đạ Tồn Commune, Lâm Đồng Province, Major Hoàng Trung Kiên is talking with Nguyễn Phú Cường, a former inmate, about taking care of his durian orchard. 

Cường was sentenced to prison for several years for intentional injury and escape from detention. 

In contrast to his early days after completing his sentence, and returning to his hometown empty-handed, Cường has now become a successful orchard owner with durian hills spreading several hectares. 

He lives in a decent house in the centre of Mađaguôi town, Đạ Hoai District with his wife and three children.

Cường recalls that upon returning to his hometown after his sentence, he faced discrimination, isolation from neighbours, and difficulty finding a job. 

However, Major Kiên helped him and introduced him to an acquaintance to learn photography. 

He then opened a wedding photography studio, which he successfully maintained for about two years. 

With limited capital, he later shifted his investment to real estate and farming. 

"Now I have a better life. It's not much, but every day I come to the orchard to care for the trees and await the sweet fruits," Cường said.

Major Kiên, the head of the local police in Mađaguôi town, is affectionately known by the locals as the "friendly police officer" for his assistance and support to those who have made mistakes. After working hours, the 38-year-old police chief, from Hà Nội, visits former prisoners in the locality. 

Like Cường, Vũ Tiến Tùng, an ex-prisoner in Mađaguôi town, is now the owner of a poultry stall in the central market of the town. 

His family also bought a truck to expand the business to nearby provinces such as Bình Phước, Bình Thuận and Đồng Nai.

Tùng said: "Thanks to Major Kiên, I had the motivation to engage in business. Until now, our family's trading business is relatively stable, and having a decent home is the greatest happiness."

Trần Thanh Tùng, the head of Residential Area 4 in Mađaguôi town, said Kiên and his colleagues have helped many former inmates to restart their lives and find jobs after being released from prison. 

"Former inmates often feel insecure and self-conscious upon returning to their hometown after completing their sentences. However, with the assistance of local police officers, especially Kiên, they have been able to learn new skills, find jobs, and experience a positive transformation in their mindset and work," Tùng said.

Kiên was assigned to work in Mađaguôi Town in 2009 and was appointed chief of police in 2020. 

This is a central area and the southern gateway of Lâm Đồng province, bordering the provinces of Bình Thuận and Đồng Nai, which presents complex security issues and public order challenges.

Assuming his duties, Kiên advised the leadership of the district police and local authorities to establish a coordination mechanism among the police forces of the four adjacent communes for exchanging information on criminals, suspects, and the security situation in the border area. 


Major Hoàng Trung Kiên talks with a former inmate. 

According to Kiên, the work of mobilising, educating, and supporting ex-prisoners has contributed to reducing crime and re-offending in the complex region around Mađaguôi town. 

"In the past, those who returned after completing their sentences did not receive timely reformation, education, and employment support. As a result, they would associate with criminal elements in the border area and commit crimes again. However, after implementing the model of assisting rehabilitated individuals during the first year, the recidivism rate has significantly decreased, leading to a reduction in overall crime at the local level."

Based on its effectiveness, the chief of police in Mađaguôi town proposed the local People's Committee to establish a group to help and support former inmates to reintegrate into the community within the nationwide movement to protect the security of the motherland in Lâm Đồng province. 

Up to now, this model has been replicated in all residential areas of the town, managing and assisting 16 individuals who have completed their sentences and reintegrated into the community. 

Lieutenant Colonel Nguyễn Thanh Nam, the Chief of Police of Đạ Huoai District, said Kiên's support to former inmates saw positive results when they were released from prison. 

"However, for this model to spread further, the involvement of various sectors and organisations is needed to visit, encourage, and set up plans to provide financial resources for their socio-economic development and stable livelihoods," said Nam.

In recognition of his achievements, in 2022, major Hoàng Trung Kiên was awarded merits from the Minister of Public Security and the provincial police. He is a typical example of the entire Lâm Đồng police force on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Traditional Day of Việt Nam's People's Police in the same year. — VNS