Visiting Prisoners at Samut Prakan Prison

June 16, 2007
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You can visit prisoners on Monday to Friday. The morning session is reserved for male prisoners. The afternoon for female prisoners. There are usually 13 rounds in the morning which last about 20 minutes. The first round is at 8.40 a.m. but you can come earlier to book your visit. On busy days they will start earlier and shorten the rounds to less than 15 minutes each. When you arrive, you should first get a queue number from the counter outside the office to your left. Then in the middle section of the waiting area there are two tables where you will find bilingual “request for visiting” forms. Fill these out as much as you can. Also write somewhere the nationality. Next, wait for your number to be called. Unfortunately, the electronic system is now broken so they will only call the numbers in Thai! You will need to keep an eye open to see the number of the person being served. Once it is your turn, he might ask to see your passport. So, be prepared. He will then write on your piece of paper three numbers. It might be something like 1/1 5. This means, Round 1, Room 1 and Cubicle 5. So, the first number is the round number. If you arrive at 8.15 a.m., you probably won’t be able to visit until at least Round 7. There are two rooms and 9 cubicles per room. So, only 18 prisoners are allowed out at once. There doesn’t seem to be a limit to number of visitors at one time. However, the prisoner is only allowed to come out once per day.

In the waiting area, they sometimes tune the television to one of the visiting rooms so that you can see what is going on. On the doorway to the visiting rooms there is a sign that tells you the number of the round at present. You won’t be allowed to take any bags past this doorway. If it is your round next,  you can ask the guard by the door for a locker key. Thai people give him their i.d. card in return for the blue tagged keyring.Your passport will probably work the same for you. As you face this door. The lockers are to the right next to the children’s play area. When you go in, you must make sure you are properly dressed. If you are male, then you should wear trousers and a shirt that covers your shoulders. women shouldn’t wear anything provocative as you will be refused entry. I have also seen the guards tell people to take off their caps. The following are the rules which are posted in Thai:

1. It is forbidden to use a mobile phone
2. It is forbidden to use a camera
3. It is forbidden to take a bag
4. It is forbidden to take any weapons
5. It is forbidden to take any pet animals
6. It is forbidden to take any food or drinks

At present they don’t search you but be prepared that this might happen. If you are carrying anything prohibited then that might shorten the length of your visit. I always turn off my mobile phone while visiting. You cannot also take any recording devices or laptops. It would seem that it is alright to show them pictures. It is actually impossible to pass them anything as there isn’t only a wire mesh, but also perspex glass. Unlike other prisons, you are sitting quite close with just a counter top between you. To communicate, you use a telephone. When you first go in, this might not be turned on. So, don’t panic as it might not necessarily mean your phone is broken. The length of visit is 20 minutes, but be prepared that on busy days they might cut short each visit. There is no warning for the end of each round. The phone line just goes dead. On the counter top, there is a ventilation grill, so it is possible to shout a few parting sentences. But, don’t delay leaving as you might not only cause a problem for the person you are visiting, but you are also delaying the start of the next round.

Video Conference:

If you don’t like the idea of waiting an hour or two for your turn, you can try the video conference. I do this for nearly every visit now since they stopped allowing you to book visits. Fill in the form as before. However, this time take it to the guy at the desk to the right. He is guarding the entrance to the visiting rooms. Make sure he understands you want video conference. They use the English word “conference” for this. If you look through the bars you should be able to make out the televisions at the far end. Almost straight away, he will go down to one of these televisions and speak on the microphone to someone on duty in the room inside the prison. Your friend will then be called. As he/she doesn’t have to get changed, they usually come quite quick. If you are lucky, you will only have to wait 10 minutes. These are not set by rounds and not many people use this service, so it is a lot quicker. They sometimes let you talk for longer than 20 minutes too if there is no-one waiting. Another advantage is that the line is not cut off suddenly. So, you have time to wrap things up and say goodbye properly.

Update: You are no longer allowed to book visits in advance.

HOW TO BUY FOOD FOR PRISONERS

Unlike other prisons, at Samut Prakan Central Prison you are not allowed to bring food or other items for prisoners. The only thing you can do is to buy things in the Prison Shop or send something to the through the post office (*). As you leave the waiting area, turn right and head towards the parking area and visitor canteen. You will see the prison shop on your right.  There is a form here with the prices. All you have to do is fill in the quantity for each item. Unfortunately, it is only available in Thai. Luckily, we have done a translation for you. Sometimes, one of the people on duty might be able to help. Plus, most of the items are on show behind the counter. You don’t actually get to touch them like in a normal shop. But you can point. Take the form to the cashier and put the form face down in the blue tray on the counter. The name of the prisoner will be called in turn and you will be asked for the money. He will then staple the receipt to your form. You do not get any receipt. Don’t worry, the food always gets there. You can also buy shirts and shorts. Sometimes you might find some items not available. Also, prices for items such as fruit might vary with the season.

* You are no longer allowed to send parcels

HOW TO DEPOSIT MONEY

If you enter the waiting area, to your left is the counter for booking the visit but also a window for paying money into the prison bank account. There is a little slip of paper that you are supposed to use to fill in the details. You get this from the same round tables in the middle of the room where you found the Visitor registration form. Unfortunately it is all in Thai. There are four lines. The top line has two spaces for your first name and family name. The second line has two spaces for the prisoner’s first name and family name. The third line has two spaces for the amount of money and the section (usually Dan 2 if they are a male prisoner just arrived). The fourth line has two spaces for id card number (you can leave blank) and the cell number. You can also leave that blank if you don’t know. Give this slip of paper and the money to the guy behind the counter. He will then write out a receipt to give to you. From experience, we have learned that they don’t always know about this deposit. We once did an anonymous donation to a prisoner. But she only found out about it as she was preparing toleave.

This money can be used by the prisoners though they cannot withdraw more than 200 baht per day.  They don’t actually touch the money as they are given coupons. These coupons are only valid for 24 hours. There doesn’t seem to be a limit to how much money they can have in their accounts. If you cannot go to Thailand, then it might be possible to send money through your embassy. In extreme cases, we might be able to assist you.

WRITING TO PRISONERS

Most, if not all male foreigners are in Section 2. In Thai they say “Dan 2”. All female prisoners are in “Dan 4”. You should also write their cell number but it isn’t important if you don’t have it yet. However, it might help to start with, if you can add the nationality next to the name. You can use the following address:

Prisoner’s Name (Dan 2)
Samut Prakan Central Prison
333 Sukhumwit Road
Tambon Klong Dan
Amphoe Bang Bo
Samut Prakan Province
10550
Thailand

11th July 2008: For the foreseeable future, you CANNOT send any parcels to prisons inside Thailand. You can only send letters.

You mustn’t send any metal objects which also includes silver foil. For example, the seal on the tube of toothpaste will not pass. If the metal detector alarm goes off, they will just return it to sender without opening it. If you send parcels, you are supposed to put a photocopy of your i.d. card or passport on the side of the box. However, you don’t need to do this if you put a book in a normal envelope.

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20 Responses to Visiting Prisoners at Samut Prakan Prison

  1. KAL RAMAN
    December 26, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    A Pakistani left Malaysia with someone who took him to Thailand and left him at the Bangkok Airport saying that he could check in at the counter.However te Immigration told him that his entry stamp was not geniune as there were no records of his entry to Thailand.He was arrested and convicted but it appears that his name is on the pardon list.
    There is another Pakistani guy who says that the jailor wants money and he will be released as his nmae is on the pardon list.
    I find this very suspicious since this person is asking for money for him to be released evrn though
    he has served his sentence/
    If he has been pardoned why would be still be in prison as he has a return ticket with him which canbe used.
    Can you oplease let me know how we can get him out of Thailand.
    With best regards/
    Kal (email crftsmore@yahoo.com.sg

    • Richard Barrow
      December 27, 2011 at 4:23 pm

      Once he has finished his sentence, he will be taken to the police station where he was originally charged to see if there is any further outstanding warrants for him. However, he still cannot walk free as presumably he has overstayed his visa and so technically not allowed to roam around Thailand. So, he is then arrested again and charged with overstaying his visa. He is then taken to the Immigration Detention Centre in Bangkok where it can take up to a week to be processed. If he then has a ticket, he will be escorted to the airport.

  2. John
    January 23, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    Does anyone know whether a foreigner can deposit money for a Thai prisoner, who has no pre-existing account. I read somewhere that family members were required to set up an account. If it can be done, is there a ceiling on the amount you can donate? Are there any organisations that can help people unable to come to Thailand to help Thais without family support in prison?

    • Richard Barrow
      January 24, 2013 at 7:28 am

      Usually a prison will set up an account for inmates when they arrive. Some prisons have a rule that you cannot put money into an account unless you actually visit them. For example, if you go to a prison to visit one person, you cannot then put money into an account of others. But I do know some prisons allow for money to be sent to an inmate’s account with an money order sent via the post office. For foreign prisoners whose relations cannot visit, their embassy usually helps with this.

  3. Ryan Dowling
    March 1, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    Im trying to find some info on sending money to a Thai girl in prison in kanchanaburi. I have received some letters from her, sent via her sister who is currently the only contact a have. The prisoner has given me an address for the prison telling me to send money to the prison via the post office. My first question is- does it work just like a western union transfer? And secondly, would it just be easier to send the money to her sister? Also the same questions relating to sending her a letter.. Send it direct to the prison or via her sister? Thanks a lot, any if some info would be greatly appreciated.

    • Richard Barrow
      March 8, 2013 at 10:20 am

      From experience, sending money to the prisoner via the post office is the best method as long as you have all the correct details. Sending letters direct to the prison is also the best method.

      • Marie
        February 12, 2014 at 9:16 pm

        Hi Richard,
        Could you tell me what details I need to send money to inmates via the post office? Is it possible to do this from outside of Thailand?

        • Richard Barrow
          February 17, 2014 at 6:59 am

          I don’t think so as you need to get a Thai postal order. Another way is to send money through your embassy. You need to contact them.

  4. John
    March 2, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    Prisons seem to have a diversity of approaches to e.g. food, with some supplying basic meals and others expecting prisoners to pay. If a prisoner has no external money source, he must be at the bottom of the inmate hierarchy. How do these unfortunates survive their time inside? Potentially they could not buy food or daily necessities, like clothes, soap etc.

    Another example of difference is visiting arrangements, such as the barrier and distance between inmate and visitor. Why isn’t there a consistent approach throughout prisons?

  5. thilinialwis
    December 8, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    my husband went to thailand at 31st october 2013 with other two men from sri lanka , they said that they will go ltaly , after 13 november there is no informations from my husband, he send a msg that he will take to the prison at samut prakan, can you please tell is there a person from sri lanka and how can we get back him to sri lanka

  6. Liliya Fedorova
    January 4, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    My friend Stephen cork, 50 years old and his daughter !0 years were in prison, Klong Prem in Bangkok in early December 2013. When Stephen with his daughter were in the bar to drink juice and coffee in his bag at the bar someone tossed the bag with drugs. He was arrested. It is not their fault!!! This is incredible!!!! In pursuit of prizes, the Thai police even elderly person and the child did not spare!!. They are citizens of the UK. 3 December 2014 was to be a court. Connection lost. That’s all that I know about them now!!! Help to find out about their fate.

  7. Tamam Bohamud
    January 6, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    I please your help !!
    I am Tamam From Syria, my brother has traveled to Thailand using his legal Passport, then he has tried to travel to UK using a fake one, but the Thai security men has caught him and he is now in Samut Prakan Prison.
    I would like to ask about the punishment of such trespass.
    What do you advise my to do ?
    You know my brother is a Syrian guy and he has fled from the civil war in our country, therefore it should be some tolerance, isn’t ?
    I please your help !

    • Tamam Bohamud
      January 27, 2014 at 9:31 am

      please anyone help me

  8. Amna Asif
    January 9, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    ALIQUL UR REHMAN CHAUDHARY
    Son of Chaudhary asghr ali
    Is prisoner of Samut prakan prezen
    333 sukumuit road
    Passport AD1467452
    Kind plz send the information on this mail as family of respective person is suffering from serious problem
    Kindly send every information
    Thanku
    Waiting for ur reply

  9. Marie
    February 12, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    Hello, I have information about two Syrian women in prison in Sumat Prakan. I am a foreigner and was there for three weeks recently.Both the women had husbands in the mens section of the prison. I want to help you. Please tell me your email address.

    • Tamam Bohamud
      February 18, 2014 at 2:34 am

      Thank you very much for your reply. this is my E-mail
      teto1819@yahoo.com

      best regards

      • Nahla
        June 8, 2017 at 11:14 pm

        Hi Tamam,

        We had now the same problem, would you please contact me in order to help me in reaching them and how to get out of this big problem , they have their 2 year old with them in he same prison

        Here is my email
        Nahlaalzein@gmail.com

        Thank you in advance
        Nahla

  10. Nahla
    June 8, 2017 at 11:06 pm

    Hi hi
    Thank you for this information. Regarding the letter, is it OK to send my letter in Arabic or it must be in English ? And is this address right?
    Samut Prakarn Central Prison
    333 Moo 5 Sukhumvit Rd.
    T. Khlong Dan, A. Bangbor
    Samut Prakan 10550 Thailand

    Thanks
    Nahla

  11. Nahla
    June 8, 2017 at 11:08 pm

    Do they have the right to write us back?

  12. Omar
    July 7, 2017 at 1:50 am

    Hi there
    I have a friend of mine and his wife in samut parkan prison. They tried by fake passport.
    Anyone knows how to get them out.
    I’m in Thailand for a week.
    Please help.

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