BANGKOK, Oct 17 – Thai prisons are the most “overcrowded among member countries of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations),” said Vittaya Suriyawong, director-general of the Corrections Department, quoting Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha as expressing his concern.
He said Gen Prayut has targeted reducing the number of prisoners by 100,000 in one year while the total number of prisoners nationwide is about 310,000 now, the highest in ASEAN.
There are about 14,000 new prisoners each month and only 11,000 prisoners are released monthly, which means the number of prisoners rises at the average of 3,000 monthly, said Mr Wittaya.
Some 100,000 prisoners have less than five-year imprisonment left, majority of them are imprisoned for drug peddlers.
Mr Vittaya said there are plans to transfer 100,000 prisoners to 30 temporary prisons nationwide and provide them with training similar to a military exercise in order to lessen the overcrowding in the nation’s prisons.
The transfer will also help prevent small drug traffickers from meeting incarcerated major dealers, which could create drug trafficking at prisons like now.
Touching on the parents of two jailed Myanmar men suspected of murdering two British tourists on Ko Tao, off the southern coastal province of Surat Thani, travelling from Myanmar and wishing to visit their sons, Mr. Wittaya said he had ordered Ko Samui prison chief to provide facilities to the parents.
The two suspects are being jailed at Koh Samui prison, awaiting a court trial.