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Early release for prison inmates considered

Early release for prison inmates considered

THAILAND: Amid the threat from the COVID-19 pandemic and as a way to solve prison overcrowding, the Justice Ministry is considering releasing more inmates whose jail terms will be completed within one year.

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By Bangkok Post

Sunday 27 December 2020, 12:17PM


An electronic monitoring bracelet is fitted on an offender. Photo: Bangkok Post

An electronic monitoring bracelet is fitted on an offender. Photo: Bangkok Post

Electronic monitoring (EM) bracelets will be attached to inmates due to be released.

Currently, about 20,000 inmates are eligible for the programme and are expected to be released within the first quarter of next year.

Supreme Court president Metinee Chalodhorn and Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin are in talks to expedite the EM process. Meanwhile, 20,000 EM devices will be ready for use, in addition to the 10,000 currently in use.

Nattawut Saikuar, a leader of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, and 76 other prisoners were released earlier this month on parole wearing EM bracelets.

The devices allow probation officers to closely monitor their whereabouts outside jail.

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However, Mr Somsak said the option would not be available to convicts of severe crimes such as murder, sexual offences and drug trafficking.

Meanwhile, Vittawan Sunthornkajit, director-general of the Department of Probation, said the ministry is also working on the proposal for the use of EM bracelets with ex-prisoners of serious crimes prone to repeat their offences.

He gave the case of the serial rapist and killer, dubbed “Thailand’s Jack the Ripper”, known as Somkid Pumpuang, who killed a five-year-old girl last year after he was discharged as an example.

He added that about 30 inmates who committed serious crimes in each year are discharged from prison and come clean.

A new Safety Observation Ad-hoc Centre (Jsoc) has been opened for monitoring those convicted of serious crimes in the meantime, Mr Vittawan said.

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