Tales from behind the bars

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While millions of people log on to Facebook every day, those behind bars have absolutely no access to the world – virtual or otherwise. This subject was so close to one inmate’s heart that he decided a write a short story about it, and now the entertaining tale has been added to a compilation of short stories written by prisoners titled “Face Kook”.

“Face Kook” – from the Thai word for “prison”, khuk – comes in two editions – the one with a pink cover carries stories written by female inmates in Ratchaburi Prison, while the one in blue shares tales recounted by male prisoners of Bang Khwang maximum-security prison.

“Not being able to log in is just one of the many restrictions inmates have to live with,” famous writer Orasom Suthisakorn said.

She is one of the several writers to have conducted writing courses for prisoners that were launched three years ago as part of a project initiated by HRH Princess Bajrakitiyabha. The Princess wanted to help inmates develop writing skills so they could realise their potential and share the lessons they have learned.

“These lessons, when published, may prevent others from making the same mistakes,” Justice Ministry inspector-general Chatree Chochai said yesterday. He was speaking at the launch of “Face Kook”.

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Several well-known writers have led writing courses under the project, among them SEA Write award winners Naowarat Pongpaiboon, Saksiri Meesomsueb and Paiwarin Khao-ngam.

“Face Kook” is the second book to be published under this project.

The inmate who wrote about prisoners’ lack of access to social media said he decided to join the writing class after he learned that some of his fellow prisoners had written stories that were published in the previous book.

“I have been behind bars for 13 years and during this time, I have come to realise that there are many types of people in prison,” he said.

Another writer, a woman, said that thanks to this writing project, she and her fellow prisoners felt they still had a place in society.

“I am so glad that my work has been published,” she said.

Another female inmate said she began writing because she wanted to put her free time to good use. “My story aims to tell others that if they don’t behave well and get involved in drugs, they might end up in prison.”

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