Justice Ministry eyes 42 new prisons for Thailand

October 17, 2013


Justice Minister Chaikasem Nitisiri yesterday revealed a plan to seek Cabinet approval for a Bt30-billion budget to build 42 new prisons nationwide. In a bid to curb prison overcrowding, the ministry also seeks to issue a regulation suspending the remaining sentences of elderly inmates and of those prisoners who have served at least two-thirds of their terms.

Measures would also be implemented to help reduce the number of people sentenced to prison terms, he added.

Corrections Department chief Suchart Wong-anantachai said the 42 new prisons would include some “super max” high-security prisons to house serious offenders such as key drug dealers. Regarding a plan to privatise some prisons, Suchart said some firms with expertise could be used to assist in the detention of defendants awaiting their final trials, as well as pregnant inmates.

Stricter monitoring of drug-dealing activities at 17 high-security prisons had seen drug dealers resort to throwing or airlifting – by remote-controlled toy aircraft – cell phones over prison walls to inmates in Nakhon Ratchasima’s Khlong Phai and Ratchaburi’s Khao Bin prisons, Suchart said. Despite the stepped up monitoring, cell-phone smuggling into prisons continued, he said, with smartphones fetching Bt100,000 each and iPhones costing Bt300,000. Normal phones cost from Bt5,000 to Bt30,000, he said.

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