Locals back B1bn prison plan
PHUKET: The Department of Corrections (DoC) is now pushing forward a billion-baht project to build a state-of-the-art prison in Sri Soonthorn District, on the same site as the Bangjo prison, an annex of the Phuket Provincial Prison.
Tuesday 7 August 2012, 11:31AM
The Director of Phuket Prison, Rapin Nichanon, said the project will cover 108 rai of land and be able to hold up to 7,000 criminals.
Water treatment plants, sports facilities, a skills training school and comfortable dormitories will all be part of an effort to improve quality of life for prisoners.
“We will certainly need the new prison because the Phuket Provincial Prison [in Phuket City] is 115 years old, and is very overcrowded,” said Mr Rapin.
“There is no way that it can be expanded in its current location.”
Phuket is in the top five of the list of provinces that need urgent improvements to prisons in preparation for the start of the Asean Economic Community in 2015, which authorities are worried will bring a rise in criminal activity because of the free access to Thailand available to citizens of Asean member-states.
The new high-tech prison would be built to accommodate both Thai and foreign inmates, with enough space to house foreign inmates transferred from other parts of Thailand.
On August 3, the Director of the DoC, Pol Col Suchart Wongananchai, visited Phuket to meet with officials from Sri Soonthorn Municipality and locals at the Mission Hills Golf Club in Pa Khlok to hear their opinions about the project.
“People [living nearby] often have a bad perception of prisons,” said Col Suchart. “So we would like to build the new prison based on the approval of local residents.”
He said the meeting was successful, with support from locals who believe that the new prison will help develop the area.
However, no date for work to start can be set because the government first needs to agree to put up the money, Col Suchart said.
The master plan has already been prepared and permits to build on the site have been obtained, he said. The request for budget will be submitted to the government in the next fiscal year, starting October 1.
If the government gives approval and at least some of the budget, work on the project could start immediately, Col Suchart said. Three years will be needed to complete the project.