Community service sentences up 30 percent from last Songkran period

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BANGKOK- The Director-General of the Probation Department has reported that during the Songkran festival, 5,600 individuals were sentenced to community service, a 30% rise from the same period last year.

Director-General Pol Gen Narat Sawetnarong revealed that the 5,600 cases consist of 5,228 drunk driving violations, 403 miscellaneous cases and 24 cases of reckless driving. The number is an increase from last year by 1,177 or 30%. For cases of drunk driving that did not result in a traffic accident, the court will sentence violators to 20 hours of community service and will have to report themselves to their probation officer four times a year.

According to new laws, probation officers have been given more autonomy in prescribing community service work, which also includes assisting in hospital mortuaries. Pol Gen Narat affirmed that community service in the morgue does not constitute a violation of human rights, but serves as a firm punishment.

The Director-General also revealed that repeat offenders accounted for 5.18% of all cases this year. He said these individuals will be given harsher punishments at the discretion of the courts.