Model prisoners hired by Thai fruit exporter due to worker shortage
A fresh fruit exporting company in the central province of Chantaburi hired 30 model prisoners as factory employees to tackle the worker shortages in the agricultural sector.
The director of the Tung Benja Correctional Institution in Chantaburi, Thitinai Patikabut, took 30 well-behaved prisoners to work at the Orasa Fruit Company in the Combang sub-district of the province yesterday. Thitinai reported that this employment opportunity was made possible through a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the prison and the company created last month.
Thitinai explained that only first-time inmates with fewer than three years and six months left on their sentences were eligible to work outside the prison.
According to the report, each prisoner worked in the company warehouse sorting fresh fruits in preparation for import. They were paid 338 baht per day, which aligns with the minimum wage in the province.
Thitinai revealed that each inmate could keep their earnings to buy food or other items in the prison, or they could transfer the money to their families. Orasa Fruit Company also expressed interest in employing the prisoners after they are released from jail. Thitinai said…
“The main issue of the correctional institution is the future of each inmate after they are released. Most of them cannot find a job and turn back to the cycle of crime. The private sector can help solve the issue by coordinating with the government and giving a chance to former prisoners.”
The managing director of Orasa Fruit Company, Monthon Pariwat, said…
“This is the fruit season in Thailand, and our company also faces an issue of staff shortage. These prisoners helped us a lot. We are also willing to hire them once they are free. We always give them opportunities.”
Monthon added that…
“Many people asked me why I dared to hire former inmates. Don’t you feel scared? Don’t you worry about the quality of the work? Are they going to have problems with other workers? Are they stealing the products? For me, I think they deserve a chance. If they get an opportunity and have money, it is hard for them to go back and do the same thing. I hope other companies do the same thing as us. Let’s give them a chance.”
Some Thai companies may hesitate to hire former inmates due to the stigma attached to those who have been in prison. Some employers may view former prisoners as untrustworthy or lacking in skills and education. Some careers, like those of financial professionals or government officials, have a legal restriction on hiring people with criminal records as well.
Many organisations support the reintegration of former inmates like the Mirror Foundation, the Thai Probation Department, the Thailand Institute of Justice, the Foundation for Rehabilitation and Development of Children and Family, etc. They will provide counselling, job training, and educational programs to prepare former inmates for the workforce.
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