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Conditions inside Phuket prison are overcrowded and numbers grow

Phuket Prison is No Picnic, Except When Families Are Allowed Inside

Wednesday, November 7, 2012
PHUKET: The population of Phuket Prison has soared to a record 2035 as inmates cope with overcrowding and the prospect of numbers growing even higher.

Forty-seven foreigners are listed as prisoners on Phuket among 1731 male Thais, Cambodians, Laotians and Burmese and 304 women.

Phuket Prison Commander Rapin Nichanon, regarded as a reformer, aims to maintain morale and control by offering ''prison picnics'' to the best-behaved inmates.

Families on the outside can apply between now and November 16 to take part. The special arrangement applies to 1300 first-time prisoners of good behavior.

Between November 27 and November 29, in two-hour gaps beginning at 9am and 1pm, inmates who meet the criteria will be able to share a meal in the Phuket Prison quadrangle with their families.

Two hours to touch and talk with loved ones - while talented prison musicians play - is a huge inducement to prisoners whose usual interaction with visitors is confined to a few minutes of chat through a wire grille.

The jail in Phuket City was built more than a century ago to house 750 inmates.

Despite early-release programs and regular amnesties, the number of prisoners continues to grow, largely because of the Thai government's no-tolerance policy on drugs.

More than 80 percent of prisoners are in jail for drugs offences.

Commander Rapin, who believes in reform and rehabilitation, has created or maintained programs aimed at developing new skills. Female prisoners operate a massage outlet for members of the public while trusted male inmates offer car washes alongside the prison's walls.

Musical talents are encouraged and many prisoners learn wood-working skills on the inside.

Dormitories were obviously crowded when Phuketwan looked around Phuket Prison during a sunrise drugs raid in February.

Prisoners who leave their space on the floor to go to the toilet during the night are reported to sometimes find the space is occupied when they return.

Despite the overcrowding, which increases the likelihood of communicable diseases being passed on, Phuket Prison has a good reputation.

Prisoners sentenced to terms of 15 years or more go to more secure facilities in other parts of Thailand.

Land around the low-security detention centre at Bang Jo in central Phuket has been set aside for a new prison. The design incorporates modern cells.

However, no budget has been made available.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


So what is the total number of foreigners?

Posted by Vfaye on November 7, 2012 17:39

Editor Comment:

47 from outside Thailand, Burma, Cambodia and Laos.


This would seem to be a worthwhile effort by the prison to maybe prevent first timers from becoming second timers.

Posted by Arthur on November 7, 2012 17:49


Burma, Cambodia and Laos folk are not foreigners?

Posted by stu on November 7, 2012 18:57

Editor Comment:

Phuket Prison officials distinguish foreign ''neighbors'' (Burmese, Laotians and Cambodians) from other ''foreigners,'' probably because so many of them live and work in Thailand. Malaysians, however, are not in the same category.

Wednesday July 24, 2024
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