70% of Thailand’s Inmates Jailed for Drug Offenses

by Admin on September 12, 2019

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Of Thailand’s nearly 400,000 prisoners nationwide, 70% are being jailed for drug offenses, according to Thailand’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the Thailand Institute of Justice (TIJ).

More specifically, 70% of imprisoned men are there on drug charges, compared to 87% of women.

Thailand currently has the sixth-largest prison population in the world, despite having only 20th-largest population worldwide.

It also has the highest prisoner count in Southeast Asia, while only coming in at third in the region in population.

The reason for Thailand’s continually rising prison population in recent years, according to Thailand criminal defense attorneys, largely stems from a renewed crackdown in the War on Drugs in the country, especially targeting methamphetamine.

Meth usage has spiked in popularity recently in the region due to its relatively cheap cost and easy accessibility.

A strict amendment to Thailand’s drug laws, in essence, made jail-time a mandatory punishment for those caught even possessing small amounts of the harmful drug.

Thailand’s prisons are extremely overcrowded and under-funded, which has led to notoriously bad prison conditions in the country.

Prisons in Thailand are only suitable to house around 120,000 inmates.

In the early 2000s, Thailand had seemed to figure out its overcrowding problem when it switched to rehabilitation-focused solutions rather than punitive measures.

Sending drug abusers and small-time dealers to state-subsidized rehabilitation centers shrunk the number of inmates all the way to 160,000.

That all ended though when former PM Thaksin Shinawatra revamped the country’s Drug War and began extreme enforcement of the country’s draconian Narcotics Act.

Read the full story here.

Related news: Thai PM Calls Cabinet Member’s Past Drug Smuggling a ‘Small Issue’

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