The Corrections Department has approved the transfer of 16 foreign inmates to serve their remaining time behind bars in their home countries.
There are 10 inmates from Iran and while one each from Belgium, Switzerland, Netherlands, Japan, Laos and the United Kingdom, department chief Narat Sawettanan said following the prisoner transfer committee's meeting on Friday.
Narat explained that the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced People is required for foreign prisoner transfers and a tri-party agreement must be obtained for each case: the transferring state, the receiving state and the inmate who will be transferred.
A prisoner, proven to be qualified by the Procedure for International Cooperation in the Enforcement of Penal Sentences Act 1984 who obtained a nod from the prisoner transfer committee, must also have their case finalised in court, have served more than one third of the sentence and still have at least a year to be jailed at the home country.
Narat said that the department so far had transferred 1,082 foreign prisoners to their home countries since 1990 under the 1984 act. Thailand has the conventional agreement with 37 countries including France, Spain, Canada, the UK, the US, Germany, Nigeria, Cambodia and Japan.
Only 17 Thais had been transferred to serve remaining jail time in Thailand.
Such prisoner transfer is an opportunity granted to the inmates to be in their home countries, near to families and relatives, and thus be helpful in their behavioural improvement to turn a new leaf before release back to society, he said.
This also helped reduce Thai prison crowding.