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Thousands of prisoners cram into the Phuket jail's central  quadrangle

Concern at Crowded Phuket Prison Conditions

Wednesday, June 4, 2014
PHUKET: The cramped Phuket Prison is bulging at the seams with a record 2807 men and women inmates and International Red Cross concerned about conditions at the jail built to hold 750.

Prisoners who fall ill sometimes reach a critical condition before receiving the medical aid they need to stay alive, Phuketwan has been told. Deaths are not uncommon.

The prison is run with a minimal staff. Inmates are locked down in their dormitories for 15 hours a day in crowded conditions reminiscent of 18th century slave ships.

Phuketwan has seen dormitories packed with 300 men, where space on the floor is so tight that there isn't the width of an average man's shoulderblades to share.

Inmates are forced to lay on their sides and when one turns over, they are all forced to roll over. Taller men cannot set their legs straight.

The Red Cross seldom reveals the results of its investigations but Phuketwan believes conditions at the Phuket jail have created cause for deep concern.

Hygiene is limited with water at a premium and disinfectants never seen being used, Phuketwan has learned. Skin diseases are rife.

For daily ablutions, inmates are permitted just four scoops with a litre icecream container and face corporal punishment if an extra fifth scoop is taken.

Eighty percent of the inmates are being held over drugs, either as part of a sentence or awaiting trial. Those awaiting trial are mixed with hardened criminals.

According to sources, the percentage of drug-related inmates is far higher on Phuket than in the nearby provinces of Phang Nga, Krabi or Ranong.

The blueprint for a new, larger and more modern jail in central Phuket sits awaiting funding approval as international authorities review conditions in cells in Thailand for Rohingya boatpeople and attempt to determine whether their treatment in cramped conditions amounts to torture.

The Phuket Prison commander, Rapin Nichanon, is a reformer who has encouraged a public massage parlor and a car wash service to give the prisoners three meals a day instead of the usual two.

But many of the meals are low on nutrition. Phuketwan has been told inmates are lucky to find a rare chicken's head or a foot.

Prisons throughout Thailand are overcrowded but Phuket is considered possibly the most cramped, Phuketwan has learned.

The tally behind bars is 2362 men, including 41 foreigners and 134 Burmese. In the women's section, originally built to hold 60, there are now 445 women, including three foreigners and 16 Burmese.

Some women with small children hold them overnight, returning them to a care centre during the day.

Quality products made by inmates of Phuket Prison and jails in the other 13 provinces of southern Thailand go on sale at a fair in Phuket City's Saphan Hin park from Friday to June 14. Stalls will be open from 9am to 10pm.

Comments

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Its a big human rights failure.

Posted by J on June 4, 2014 11:58

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Harsh, but a great advertisement for " Don't touch drugs in Thailand"

Posted by Tone on June 4, 2014 12:06

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It is certainly a world apart from the UK where murderers live in apparent comfort in open prisons.

Posted by Logic on June 4, 2014 15:50

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And I would bet not one og those foreigners Held a Phuket Prison are Russians for some odd reason. Thailands drug laws need some heavy revising. The cruelty of Thai prisons are well known. The Thai and Burmese inmates are most likely the poorest of the poor and cannot payoff someone off. As for the foreigners there is no benifit to Thailand to throw them in there, except horrible publicity. They should be sent to they own countries prisons.

Posted by Ozette on June 6, 2014 20:31


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