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Phuket's old jail is unbelievably crowded but drugs free

Crowded Phuket Prison to be Replaced for 1.1b Baht: Coup Command Approves Budget

Wednesday, July 2, 2014
PHUKET: The National Council for Peace and Order has approved a budget of 1.1 billion baht to build a new Phuket Prison to replace the overcrowded 113-year-old facility, according to Bangkok media reports.

A new prison at Bang Jo in central Phuket will replace the ancient jail where so many male and female inmates are packed in that the International Red Cross is believed to have lodged a formal complaint.

Once again it appears that the military commanders who now rule Thailand are quickly sorting out Phuket problems that have been left unsorted by governments on both sides of Thailand's political divide for decades.

News of the budget approval will delight the Phuket Prison Commander Rapin Nichanon, who revealed the design for a new Phuket prison two years ago.

Back in 2012 he told Phuketwan that the new prison for Phuket would be built to international standards, contain cells rather than dormitories and end concerns about human rights.

A maximum number of eight people will be in each cell.

At present, as many as 300 prisoners shares dormitories that are so crowded there isn't space for them all to sleep on their backs, or to stretch their legs out straight.

It has yet to be made plain whether prisoners on remand awaiting trial will be separated from those who have been convicted in the new facility.

At present, all prisoners mingle, whether or not they have been tried and sentenced.

More than 80 percent of those in Phuket Prison are there because of drugs.

Commander Rapin said in revealing the design of the new prison back in 2012: '''We see this as an opportunity to end the antiquated system where prisoners must wear shackles to court, and apply new technology instead.'''

The new prison was intended to cope with 3000 inmates but like Phuket International Airport, Phuket and its prison has proved more popular than anticipated by officials.

The original jail, built for 750, scored a record population of 2831 last month. It would be pointless building a new prison that became too crowded too soon.

Comments

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A long overdue move. Once again the military are to be applauded for action rather than empty promises.

Also, I am fairly sure that most of this budget will be spent wisely now that the military have shown their teeth against corruption.

It may also be a possibility that once the new prison is built, that the old prison could be given a face-lift to house minor drug offenders in need of rehabilitation rather than incarceration with more serious offenders.

Posted by Logic on July 3, 2014 01:16

Editor Comment:

There was talk of clearing the space for a park but we should hear soon what will happen to it.

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I agree with Logic. More has to be done to educate and rehabilitate prisoners than what they do now.
Although my stance on drugs is probably different to most, users need to be shown facts and not fiction about what drugs can do to you, as well as those who are sadly caught in the down trodden path to be able to live life again.
As I have stated before, I personally believe money spent on trying to stop drugs has never worked in the past 100 years, education is the key to which all them billions of dollars should be used.

Posted by Tbs on July 3, 2014 07:28

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Even with new prison up an running I doubt the old prison will be surplus to requirements perhaps hold remand prisoners or something otherwise be replacing a overcrowded jail with a more modern up to date crowded jail with a nice park nearby a demolition and park conversion may be dearer than bringing that jail up to specification what ever decision they make It will be price driven one.

Posted by slickmelb on July 3, 2014 15:38

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Well the old one, after being remodeled and made pretty, can be the holding area for those not yet tried. The new facility, if it is being built near the old one, has a huge supply of free labor right nearby.

Posted by James Bond on July 3, 2014 20:18


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