Thai society expects that prisons should be the place that control the prisoners and through discipline and guidance, turn the prisoners away from their previous criminal activities, When and if the prisoners are released back in to Thai society, they should be reformed and fully equipped to serve the Thai community and Thailand as a whole. The Thai prison authorities have a legal and moral obligation to reform the prisoners during their incarceration. The media have suggested that Thai Prisons are a hub for murders, drug dealers, drug addicts, thieves and rapists free to continue their illegal and criminal activities from behind the prison walls, no matter how high the walls are.
Mr. Udom Rattanapokin Director of Rayong Central Prison, stated that there were 925 female prisoners, and 4,655 male prisoners currently incarcerated and almost all of them had been arrested and convicted of drug offences. In Rayong Prison there were many contraband items being smuggled in to the prison. The authorities have implemented strict rules, such as at the entrance and exit doors, vehicles entering and exiting, people, parcels and, postal items were all scanned. Numerous chemicals and communication devices were still finding a way in to the Prison.
Many items were discovered hidden in all manner of postal items, such as in powder boxes, lotion bottles, instant noodles, pens, or stationeries. In the case of hiding contraband in the postal items the authorities would open the item in front of the prisoners and check the senders information and question the prisoners to see if they know the sender of the postal items,
Catapults were discovered and are being used to shoot items over the prison walls, knots tied with ropes being pulled into the prisons, and the latest discovery is air cocking buckets, almost of them are made from old fire extinguishers. The buckets are air tight and using air pressure at 120 pound, the projectiles used are plastic bottles that contain mobile phones, or various other items of contraband, This is the most popular way to get mobile phones in the prison as the projectile can hold 6 phones at a time. These homemade mortars can fire a projectile approximately 100-200 meters. The projectiles are fired in to all areas of the prison, as the area they are fired into resembles a jungle. The projectiles are fired day and night,. The mortar deliverer has previously set the required direction and then made their escape. The authorities captured many of the culprits and confiscated over 50 mobile telephones as evidence.
The authorities have cooperated with the Provincial Post Office and liaised with the Provincial Governor to inspect all the parcels that were bound for the Prisons and to examine all delivery documents and copies of ID cards that were attached to the parcels. An issue was found that when parcels are sent through Private Service Postal Agents, these agents do not have to disclose their ID cards’ copies. Presently all Post Offices have announced that following a Resolution from the Department of Corrections, that from 16 March, there would be no more parcel sending to inmates. There had been approximately 200-300 boxes being sent to inmates per day and that there wasn’t enough manpower in Rayong Central Prison to inspect them all.
Rayong Central Prison is capable of holding 2,600 prisoners, but in reality it houses over 5,580 prisoners. The cells should accommodate no more than 35 inmates but are holding 75 inmates. The Custodians are unable to deal with the overcrowding and each of the prisoners had been convicted and sentenced for committing serious offences. The Authorities have difficulty trying to control the inmates due to overcrowding and smuggling of contraband.
The Prison realises there are major issues and are doing their upmost to stamp out greed and corruption from within the Prison Authority.