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Phuket's Prison hits a new record population close to 2400 inmates

New Phuket Prison Record: 2400 Inmates

Monday, September 9, 2013
PHUKET: The number of inmates at Phuket Prison rose to an all-time record of 2399 today with no date set yet for construction of a new jail.

''The number keeps going up. The billion baht project has been approved in the 2014 budget,'' Phuket Prison Commander Rapin Nichanon said today. ''But there is no timetable.''

Built more than a century ago to house 700 men and 60 women, the Phuket City institution now houses 2027 men and 372 women.

Phuketwan has visited the jail several times but it took a pre-dawn raid earlier this year, when Phuket Governor Maitree Intrusud joined officers, to show the crowded state of the dormitories.

Eighty percent of those in Phuket Prison are there because of drugs offences, or they are awaiting trial for drugs offences.

Thirty-three foreigners - including three women - are among the Phuket prisoners. Another 80 prisoners are Burmese, including 10 women.

Eighty trusted prisoners work in the low-security branch at Bang Jo, in central Phuket, where much of the food for the prison is grown.

Commander Rapin said he would like to send more prisoners to Bang Jo but regulations restrict the choice to people who have served five years and are of good behavior.

''We would also like to transfer some of our prisoners but all the jails throughout Thailand are full,'' Commander Rapin said.

A modern ''international'' prison with room for 3000 inmates has been designed for land at Bang Jo.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


That's strange. With all of the "donation" money that is taken from tourists, business owners both foreign and Thai, you would think Phuket was able to build a supermax prison. I wonder where all that "donation" money goes.

Posted by rc on September 9, 2013 15:35


Surely it would not be too costly to create a low security prison, if not on the island where land prices are high, then close to the island? If 80% of the inmates are drug offenders, most are probably low risk category anyway. They could build a low cost, military style compound with cheap building materials.

Posted by Logic on September 9, 2013 17:14

Editor Comment:

Yes, and then hire five or six times the number of people currently needed for supervision.


@Logic no ones escapes from stalag 13

Posted by slickmelb on September 9, 2013 22:27


What are the Thai officials going to do about this.
I think that the rest of the world, and tourists will be more and more negative to come to Thailand, the infrastructure is terrible !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I will recomend my friends to find another place than Thailand to take their vacation.....

Expat for 5 years here in Phuket, I see more and more negative things happen here, soon I will leave myself.... Good bye "land of smile" (cry)

Posted by RUNE on September 10, 2013 19:30


The war on drugs is lost. Time to think out of the (prison) box.

Not likely anyone will become a better person or will be corrected in this mass livestock environment. It is more like a university for crime. From first time little drug offender to what?

This low security place to work is a great start. There should be offers for education, getting them tools to feed themselves and their families when out again, coding academies, handycraft work teachings. Something like this. Lock them up and through the key away... is like painting the logo of a crashed plane over.

And yes, by looking at the incarceration rate, you can learn from other countries. In Thailand 381 per 100K, in Germany 80 out of 100K. (Well, plz do not emulate the US with 716.) And no, Germany has no higher crime rate, because not enough people in the prisons. Quite the opposite. So develop decriminalizing strategies for drug users and invest into prevention of usage and into safe usage for already heavy addicts. Take the market off the dealers hands. Bring the price down, so there is no upside compared to prosecution. Cut off the next cohort of users with information and alternative offers of great experiences. Make testing mandatory in early stages and when then take on the problem, when still small.

Posted by Lena on September 10, 2013 21:01


My younger brother Md.Rumi Munshi in the way of malaysia landing in Thailand and he probably arrested and goes to phuket jail.

Posted by Motiar Rahman on January 25, 2015 19:14

Editor Comment:

Boatpeople are usually held in detention centres where conditions vary. Sometimes, conditions can be worse than in prison.

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