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Some inmates to be released on parole following Covid-19 outbreaks at prisons

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Photo via Facebook/ ประชาสัมพันธ์ กรมราชทัณฑ์

With thousands of inmates infected with Covid-19 at several Thailand prisons, the Department of Corrections is now tackling its longstanding problem at prisons… overcrowding.

There’s now talk within the department of possibly granting some prisoners parole, or at least reducing their sentences as a short-term measure to reduce the overcrowding. Others in court detention, while awaiting trial, might be released on bail. Previous reports also said around 50,000 inmates incarcerated for minor drug charges might soon be released on house arrest and monitored with an electronic tracking bracelet.

To release inmates on special parole or to reduce their sentences, rules need to be amended, according to the department’s director general Aryut Sinthopphan. The rules on parole and sentence reduction are primarily for elderly inmates, or prisoners who are chronically ill.

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So far, more than 12,000 inmates have tested positive for Covid-19 at around a dozen correctional facilities across Thailand. The department is now rolling out a so-called “Bubble and Seal” measure to prevent the virus from spreading and all correctional facilities are instructed to prepare for potential outbreaks. Prisons must set up their own field hospitals as well as their own committees to handle Covid-19 situations.

Correctional facilities are also told to screen all inmates for Covid-19. Those who test positive for the virus will need to do an X-ray of their lungs to see if they need to treat inflammation or other symptoms.

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Prison officers who have any symptoms of Covid-19, even a runny nose, will need to do a swab test. Officers who pass the virus to others in prison can potentially face disciplinary action, Aryut says.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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