Ministry seeks ways to ease overcrowding in prisons

national January 12, 2016 01:00

By Piyanuch Thamnukasetchai

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SEVERAL moves will be adopted to ease overcrowding in jails, the Justice Minister General Paiboon Koomchaya said yesterday.

One of the measures would be to give prisoners who have served some of their time a “ticket of leave”. 
Her Royal Highness Princess Bajra Kitiyabha has advised the ministry to take preventive actions by opting for other justice procedures instead of taking cases to court for convicts to be sentenced, he said. 
Hence, the ministry will put the Electronic Monitoring (EM) system into use, while the National Steering Reform Assembly is drafting regulations to get government approval for use of these devices. This tracking system will be used for people on probation, inmates who have no assets for use as a guarantee to get bail or putting inmates under house arrest. 
Advice from Japan on re-offenders
Paiboon was speaking at a seminar, which had the head of Japan’s Justice Ministry’s Department of Rehabilitation, Hiroshi Kataoka, as guest speaker.
Hiroshi explained that in a move to cut down on the problem of repeat offenders and overcrowded jails, Japan allowed prisoners who have served a certain period of time to take a leave of absence. 
Japan has 70,496 convicts serving time in jail, with 47,000 probation volunteers and only 1,000 probation officials.
Japanese who have served a third of their jail term and at least 10 years of life sentences, are entitled to take leave. During this period out of jail, convicts are closely monitored and given occupational training so they do not commit offences again. 
Hiroshi said statistics prove that there is a four times higher chance of former inmates re-offending if they are jobless, compared to those who are employed. 

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