Prison troublemakers face ‘supermax’ unit

June 30, 2014

Khao Bin Prison

Trouble-making inmates from across Thailand are being transferred to the country’s only jail with a “super-maximum” security facility.

The Corrections Department also plans to set up three more “supermax” zones like the one at Khao Bin Prison in Ratchaburi in a bid to accommodate all misbehaving inmates and ensure that they lose their bad connections and, thus, their negative influence.

The reasons inmates get sent to the prison include drug trafficking, using cell phones or seriously intimidating fellow inmates.

“I think if we have ‘supermax’ facilities to accommodate about 1,000 trouble-making inmates, we should be able to end many problems,” Khao Bin Prison chief Yossapon Sutham said in an exclusive interview with The Nation.

Khao Bin Prison

The supermax zone at Khao Bin Prison can hold 500 inmates.

Recent news reports revealed that some prisoners continue to arrange drug deals from behind bars after obtaining cell phones through bribery and influence.

“To get a cell phone, some inmates have agreed to pay up to Bt3 million. To get a SIM card, some inmates have agreed to offer Bt800,000,” Yossapon said.

He disclosed that some inmates outside Khao Bin Prison’s supermax zone once used cell phones.

“But I have already launched a serious crackdown and pursued action against suspicious officials,” he said.

Khao Bin

Yossapon remains sure that no one has snuck a cell-phone into the supermax zone.

“Before any person is allowed to walk into the zone, he or she must undergo body scanning. There’s no exemption. This rule applies to officials and the warden chief too,” he said.

He added that SIM card-detecting devices and security cameras were also in place.

“Officials monitor inmates round the clock with the help of 360 security cameras too,” he said.

When the ‘supermax’ facility opened last year, only troublemakers from the Khao Bin Prison were sent there. However, authorities now agree that it will be easier to control and reform inmates if trouble-makers are separated.

Khao Bin

Kan, 33, said he was initially locked up in the Ubon Ratchathani Prison on a drug-related conviction.

He said he had managed to get into an influential gang there and got a cell-phone.

“Because of that I was sent to solitary detention at the supermax zone,” he said.

Unlike general prisons, the supermax does not allow inmates to walk around and they can’t use money. Neither can they accept food or items brought by families or friends.

There is no coffee and smoking is banned. Only direct relatives can “visit” via a video-conference system that officials can listen to.

Inmates are allowed only one hour of exercise a week.

Khao Bin

“We have already had 287 inmates inside the supermax zone,” Yossapon said. Uan, who was jailed for attempted murder, said officials threw him in the supermax because he had often had brawls at Chon Buri Prison.

“I am under huge stress because I can’t contact anyone. I am allowed to leave my cell only when my lawyer arrives,” he said.

Kan said the situation at the supermax facility was so stressful that he would never want to come back.

“I even think I could die from stress here,” he said.

‘Supermax’ unit head Chanwit Karanan said inmates often shouted to ease their stress and some even banged their heads against the wall.

Parakorn Daengsomboon, who monitors inmates via CCTV, said he could zoom in closely on inmates.

“So if anything goes wrong, officials can rush in,” he said.


2 Responses to Prison troublemakers face ‘supermax’ unit

  1. j.wheeler
    June 30, 2014 at 7:44 am

    Continuum last 2 humans atal including those of the developing world as all humans are born equaly of mother.It is 2014 and much more is understood of human mind and anatomy.Thus nonchalance to the awareness of torture.from the hampshire man 18 yrs thai prison
    .Truth by really knowing.

  2. Open
    September 13, 2014 at 12:07 am

    Addicts will still be addicts. They will still rob, steal and buazglire other people for money to feed their addiction. ————————Not if their addiction is cheap enough. Back when I was in Nam I saw/knew many a G.I. who got hooked on heroin. Over there they smoked it rather than injected it, same result though: hard-core addiction.BUT, over there it cost about $1 a day to maintain the habit as opposed to $300-600 a day when the sob’s got back to the states. These guys’s showed up for work every day, performed their duties, and were hard-core heroin addicts. Remember, after a period of time, there is no more high from the drug as the body develops more resistance to the euphoria affect, and the addict is taking his daily dose only to keep from getting violently ill from withdrawal. I do agree however that the criminal mind will find some new mischief to get into, that’s the way their brains work. It’s not that it’s all they know how to do; IT’S ALL THEY WANT TO DO!It’s the little boy’s rush they get from stealing from the cookie jar, breaking the rules.

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