Justice Ministry creating inmate DNA database

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BANGKOK, Nov 12 —  Thailand’s Ministry of Justice is creating a DNA database of all prisoners in the Thai penal system, with DNA data to be incorporated into inmates’ criminal records to be used in tracking them after their release.

The plan is intended make sure that criminal offenders do not commit the same crime twice and to ensure better safety for society at large.

Deputy Permanent Secretary of Justice Pol Maj Dusadee Arawuit, who is in charge of drug eradication within prisons, announced that he has held talks with the Department of Corrections and Justice Minister General Paiboon Khumchaya, all of whom have approved the creation of an inmates’ DNA database.

The ministry is currently training officers from 64 prisons and the Central Institute of Forensic Science in the new measure, and plans to propose the idea to ministry officials soon.

The measure would require a budget of about Bt160 million annually, at an average cost of Bt5,000 for testing and tracking each inmate.

The calculation use the number of prisoners released or on parole, to around 30,000 inmates annually.

Pol Maj Dusadee said the DNA database would help ensure a safer society, as the data could be used to identify suspects who might commit the same crime again.

At present, he said, the Corrections Department has collected fingerprints of inmates before they were sent to prison to verify their identities and prevent the release of the wrong person from jail.

However, some prints could turn out to be unclear and DNA collection would be better evidence than fingerprints, he said.