Justice Minister General Paiboon Koomchaya declared yesterday that the Probation Department had been a failure since it was established 33 years ago.
The minister was speaking at a meeting with high-ranking officials to drive the ministry’s roadmap.
He pointed out that officials from the department only summoned newly released detainees for a two-hour chat, acknowledging the fact that the main problem was personnel shortage. He added that the country had 7,255 tambons, but only 5,000 of them have officials in charge of inmates out on probation. There are 20 to 30 such officials in each province and up to 1,500 volunteers across the country.
“I don’t mean that the department should be removed from the jurisdiction of the Office of the Court of Justice,’’ he said.
Paiboon also added that the Justice Ministry too was facing personnel and management problems because some officials do not understand their duties and different departments fail to work together, which causes government policies to fail.
He said most problems occurred at the Department of Corrections, the Department of Probation and the Department of Juvenile Protection and Observation.
“The government has no plans to build more prisons because it would be like accepting the fact that our society is going down. We want the Department of Corrections to reduce prison terms for inmates with good behaviour. However, so far, the concept of reducing prison terms is being used by officials with vested interests,” he said.