Thailand’s Department of Corrections responds to allegations about coercion and forced labor in Thai prisons, following report made by Thomson Reuters Foundation

PHOTO: Thairath

Bangkok –

There is no coercion or inmate brutality in Thai prisons, only officials emphasizing behavioral development among inmates, the Department of Corrections declared over the past holiday weekend on December 24th, responding to allegations made by the Thomson Reuters Foundation last week.

Thai Corrections Department spokesperson Tawatchai Chaiwat stated to the press this weekend following the news report from Thomson Reuters spreading about alleged threats and physical assault among prisoners that the Department did not have such policies but only provide vocational training and give inmates the opportunity to work to enhance their skills in various professions as it is part of behavioral development with the goal to provide inmates with knowledge and skills for a career after their imprisonment.

According to the reports by Thomson Reuters Foundation, prisoners in Thailand were forced to make fishing nets for private companies. They would be threatened with assaults or delay their release date if they did not meet targets.

The International Federation for Human Rights had also called on the Thai government to investigate the allegations as such behaviors may be considered as forced labor, violating Thailand’s trafficking laws.

Tawatchai Chaiwat

The spokesperson denied these allegations, calling the report false, and said: “The news only mentioned certain types of work that may not reflect the overall picture. In fact, before the outbreak of Covid-19, inmates are given a variety of job opportunities, such as training as telephone operators (call center) which earned a dividend of 4,262 baht/person/month, professional bakers which received a dividend of 13,882 baht/person/month, car care training which earned about 1,462 baht/person/month, and vocational training in sorting dried fruit which received a dividend of 3,420 baht/person/month, and many more.”

“Coercion and beating inmates to work is not the guidelines of the Department of Corrections and it is an unacceptable act. All inmates must be treated fairly under human rights acts which have always been prioritized by the Department of Corrections and the Ministry of Justice.” Tawatchai explained.

“The Department of Corrections, therefore, would like to ask the public to have confidence in the process of developing inmates’ behavior. The Department is always willing to provide information for all domestic and international sectors to show their commitment and intention upon treating Thai prisoners.” Tawatchai concluded.

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National News Writer at The Pattaya News. Born and raised in Bangkok, Nop enjoys telling stories of her hometown through her words and pictures. Her educational experience in the United States and her passion for journalism have shaped her genuine interests in society, politics, education, culture, and art.