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Phuket Prison Crush: Inmate Numbers Rising

Phuket Prison Crush: Inmate Numbers Rising

Monday, June 29, 2009
PHUKET'S JAIL is just about as full as it can be. Built to hold 800 prisoners, the island's jail is now home to 1200 inmates.

New figures show the extent of crowding in Thailand prisons.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, Kittipong Kityarat, said last week that the country's prisons were 50,000 inmates over capacity.

Numbers in Phuket Jail have risen by 100 since Phuketwan visited in late March.

Each prisoner costs 16,000 baht a year to maintain. About 28 percent of those in prison are awaiting court appearances, Khun Kittipong said.

He warned, though, that on current projections, the oversupply could be as many as 200,000 prisoners above the capacity of Thailand's jails within two years.

Bangkok officials made their regular monthly check on Phuket Prison last week.

Five decades ago, Thailand had just 10,900 prisoners. The prevalence of drug crimes in modern times has triggered much of the increase.

Fifty-five percent of those in jail are serving terms of less than five years. Prisoners sentenced to less than 18 years remain on Phuket.

Those sentenced to longer terms are taken to jails in Bangkok.

Phuketwan visited Patong Jail in March during a health check for prisoners. The individual checks took place inside a bus clinic in the central quadrangle.

The parts of the prison we saw seemed clean and the prisoners were cheerful as they queued for attention. However, numbers of inmates have continued to grow rapidly since then.

While drug crimes continue to be part of the problem, some prisoners are believed to be quick to commit new offences on release because they prefer the prison lifestyle.

There are no plans and no budget for another prison on Phuket.

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Meanwhile the new " Medical Services " building in Manik, with landscaping that has died off twice and been replaced, 2 homes and 6 apartments and brand new mobile lab truck just celebrated an opening after being empty for well over a year.
I have yet to see any activity to indicate anyone is utilizing this service. The truck hasn't moved in 2 weeks.

Posted by Thai Weary on June 30, 2009 08:58


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