There are lots of prisoners in Supermax prisons in the US that are fit as a fiddle. Why? Because they do 1000s of push ups and sit ups in their cell, which are on 24-hour lockdown.
Chen, even as president, lived an inactive lifestyle. The health problems from an inactive lifestyle are cumulative and not necessarily because of his conditions in jail. It's the result of decades of neglect. With regard to working in prison, would Chen really want to work making joss sticks or washing clothes? If he was allowed to do this type of work, I am sure his supporters would say it was beneath a former president.
Hard time is exactly that---hard time. To me, there has been a repetitive pattern with Chen and his wife to use their ailments to get special conditions. If you do the crime, you should do the time no matter what your ailments are.
Taipei Times wrote:The US-based Formosan Association for Human Rights (FAHR) in a letter on Saturday condemned the “inhuman imprisonment conditions” faced by former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and called on the Presidential Office and Ministry of Justice to “set aside political motives” and grant Chen the hospital stay he needs to return to full health.
Chen, who is serving a 17-and-a-half-year prison sentence for corruption, was granted a temporary release from Taipei Prison on Tuesday for a medical checkup at Taoyuan General Hospital because of heath concerns. A series of tests revealed that he was suffering from an acute coronary syndrome and significantly reduced blood flow to the heart, a potentially fatal condition, the letter said.
Taipei Prison ignored Chen’s repeated requests for a hospital checkup for a month until pressure from 13 legislators persuaded it to relent, it said.
However, the prison authorities had planned to return Chen to prison immediately after the checkup.
Chen is currently in the intensive care unit after undergoing an urgent cardiac catheterization procedure on Wednesday. A small tumor was also found on his prostate during the examination.
Chen’s son, Chen Chih-chung, pointed out that his father has been jailed under an inhuman conditions and was allowed only 30 minutes each day for outdoor activities. Earlier this year, for nine straight days, he was even denied his daily exercise time. Unlike other inmates, who can work eight hours a day in prison factories, his father is essentially confined to a damp and undersized cell of about 70 square feet, 24 hours a day.