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The Department of Corrections has admitted an infection toll in prisons nationwide of 11,670. The Courts have announced new procedures to reduce the prison population.

The sign stated "Tuberculosis solitary room". (File Photo)

Corrections Department Deputy Director-General Sitthi Sutivong on 18 May reported the figures.  35 Corrections Department staff in 13 prisons around the country were infected while 7 prisons reported 1,408 new infections.


New Infections

Under Treatment

Chiang Mai Central Prison



Nonthaburi Prison



Central Women Correctional Institution



Klong Prem Central Prison



Thonburi Remand Prison



Chachoengsao Central Prison



Bangkwang Central Prison



Other prisons not named have no new infections. The numbers of infected prisoners undergoing treatment are: Central Special Treatment Centre - 1; Central Remand Prison - 1,851; Minburi Remand Prison - 2; Narathiwat Provincial Prison - 1; Mae Sot Prison - 1; and Samut Prakan Central Prison - 1.

Sitthi said that in order to control the infection, a swab test will be administered to every inmate. Those infected will have their lungs x-rayed and be separated into different treatment groups according to their symptoms. Those that have not been infected will be tested every 7 days until the situation in the prisons is resolved.

The Deputy Director-General was responding to reports that the Department has a budget of only 750,000 baht to deal with Covid-19 infections, an amount that was originally designated for a workshop, but which has been re-allocated toward disease control as the workshop cannot take place under current circumstances.

The Department’s regular budget already includes patient treatment. However, with the surge in infections, the Department has requested the Bureau of the Budget for an additional 411 million baht, subject to cabinet approval, to be spent on field hospitals and equipment.

According to the Department of Corrections website, there are 140 prisons, remand prisons and detention centres. 

Attempt to ease overcrowding

The Corrections Department also published a circular letter from the Office of the Judiciary of 14 May summarizing measures on the custody and transfer of inmates to reduce prison overcrowding during the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • The courts will grant bail to those who have never been detained with conditions to prevent flight.
  • Bail security shall be reduced or waived.
  • Courts shall allow those given bail to report via telephone or electronic media.
  • The accused or defendants may submit requests for bail without security.
  • Those who have been allowed bail, found guilty and sentenced to less than 3 years in jail shall automatically be granted further bail if the case is appealed.
  • The courts can release those who have been sentenced to less than 5 years in jail with electronic monitoring devices to restrict their movements.
  • Appeals against temporary detention and related hearings can be conducted via teleconference.
  • Hearings to present the verdict against those who are in temporary release shall be postponed. Hearings concerning those who are in detention will be conducted as scheduled via teleconference.

The Department of Corrections estimates that these measures will result in many people being released during their 14-day period of quarantine. The Department has put in place a screening process for those who will be released. Those that are undergoing treatment in field hospitals will be kept there even if they are eligible for release. Those who cannot attend trial hearings via teleconference can have the schedule postponed with notification from the prison.

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