Connect with us

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thailand urged to join in reducing global prisoners for Covid-19

Neill Fronde



PHOTO: Overcrowding plagues the Thai prison system and has created a Covid-19 crisis. (via Youtube)

After it was revealed that nearly 3,000 inmates in Thailand’s prison system have Covid-19, criticism and calls are mounting to follow the global trend of reducing the total number of prisoners in the country. Human rights groups are calling for the release of inmates held on minor charges, with Amnesty International Thailand requesting those in “unnecessary custody to be minimised” in an open letter sent to the Supreme Court president and Justice Ministry on Tuesday.

Covid-19 outbreaks in prison have been a problem for many countries, with the United Kingdom identifying 12,000 infections and considering plans to prioritise vaccinations for those incarceration facilities. The United States, a country with one of the worst Covid-19 outbreaks and the largest prison population in the world, saw 612,000 prisoner infections.

Amnesty International argued that over 600,000 inmates had been scheduled for release in 100 countries to minimise Covid-19 risk by reducing overcrowded prisoners. In New South Wales, Australia 14,000 non-felony inmates are scheduled for release, and in New Jersey in the US 1,000 releases are being considered. Even in Iran, prison populations were thinned with the March release of 85,000 prisoners.

In Thailand, plans for reducing the number of incarcerated prisoners by freeing more than 50,000 inmates are being enacted. Suspending sentences, requesting Royal pardons, and even amending laws to free those serving on drug offences are avenues being pursued, according to Thailand’s Justice Minister. He also denied rumours of a Covid-19 cover-up, saying that the Department of Corrections just received complete data on Wednesday and released it then.

Only six staff members of Thai prisons have been infected while 1,795 prisoners at Bangkok Remand Prison and 1,040 prisoners at the Central Women’s Correctional Institution now have Covid-19. Inmates have reported dire conditions, with symptomatic prisoners found in nearly every holding cell. Field hospitals have been set up within prisons to treat mild infections and those more seriously afflicted have been moved to hospitals.

Overcrowding is a major problem for prisons in Thailand, a country with one of the highest incarceration rates worldwide. The maximum capacity for Thailand’s 143 incarceration centres is 217,000 people but the World Prison Brief reports that Thailand’s prison system now houses over 377,000 inmates, highlighting the need for reducing the number of prisoners in the country.

Authorities at these institutions say that prisoners returning from attending court hearings are responsible for bringing in infections. But prisoners have reported that all inmates returning on any given day are held together for their 14 day isolation period instead of separated to avoid Covid-19 spread.

Vaccines are expected to arrive in prisons next month where, just like the general population, they will first be given to those with chronic diseases and other high-risk inmates. The Department of Corrections expects to receive enough jabs for the entire prison population.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World


Want more from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Thailand. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Myanmar5 hours ago

Burmese military media outlets say ethnic army killed 25 workers

Thailand7 hours ago

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha says drug suppression should to be a national priority

Thailand8 hours ago

Purchases of fancy street lamps being investigated for possible corruption

Phuket Sandbox July 1st


Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Sponsored by image

Thailand9 hours ago

Thailand News Today | BKK parks re-open… nearly, tropical storm, airport security upgrade | June 14

Thailand9 hours ago

Missing fisherman’s body found in sea off Nakhon Si Thammarat

Coronavirus (Covid-19)10 hours ago

CCSA: We’re out of vaccines

Coronavirus (Covid-19)10 hours ago

Ayutthaya hospital to test all staff for Covid after 18 test positive

Thailand10 hours ago

13 teenagers arrested in Chon Buri for partying, gathering

Crime10 hours ago

Crime Suppression Division seizes dozens of illegal firearms in a series of raids

Crime11 hours ago

Marijuana valued at 10 million baht seized in Nakhon Phanom, 2 arrested

Coronavirus (Covid-19)12 hours ago

Monday Covid Update: 3,355 new cases, provincial totals

Coronavirus (Covid-19)12 hours ago

Almost 100% of teachers and staff vaccinated in Bangkok

Thailand13 hours ago

Almost 8 million register for stimulus scheme, app briefly goes down

Best of13 hours ago

Top 5 best temples in Bangkok

Thailand13 hours ago

Good Morning Thailand | What’s happening in Pattaya, Phuket sandbox, reopening for tourism

Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism3 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8