The Rights of Prison inmates

(Fawad Ali Shah, )

In a civilized society, a prison is always considered as a place of reformation. A place where the criminals and offenders are kept in order to eliminate their negative tendencies and prepare them for becoming fit to live again in the society as a normal human being. But unfortunately this notion is clearly neglected rather ignored in the prisons of Thailand and Malaysia. In the prisons and immigration detention centers of both the countries, the human rights are being brazenly violated every day. Several prisoners and immigration detainees died in a miserable condition every year due to this inhuman treatment.These Southeast Asian countries have no regard for human rights. Seventy per cent of the local prisoners in Thailand are related to drug abuse and trafficking, of whom many have their cases under trial and many have been sentenced to long-term imprisonments. The prisoners and detainees of Local origin and thousands of immigrants belonging to various countries have been kept together in these jails. Thailand’s Central Prisons, SamutPrakan and KlongPrem, are among the most notorious prisons where locals and foreigners are tortured and punished. Due to unhygienic food and the lack of medical care, apart from physical weakness people are suffering from TuberculosisTB and skin related diseases in these jails. Muslims have been deprived of Halal food. All the prisoners have to eat Thai dishes which most of them are unable to digest. Some of the prisoners get food from outside by visitors, and others, who can't afford to buy food stuff from the shops inside the jail. In these shops goods are sold a price much higher than the market rates. In a small room of twenty five square meters, seventy prisoners are huddled together like sheep, due to which they cannot even sleep. This state of affairs giver rise to fights amongst the inmates every day. The corrupt jail authorities provide some of the drug addicts with expensive cocaine and heroin. When some high profile personnel are to visit the prison, the prisoners are threatened with dire consequences if they speak against the jail administration. Many inmates are waiting for a royal wavier of their punishment. In the reign of the Thai late king, BhumibolAdulyadej, prisoners used to get a waiver on their punishment on occasions such as royal festivals. After the death of KingBhumibolAdulyadej, his son, present KingMahaVajiralonkorn issued a forgiving order only once. One of the reasons why the Thai king MahaVajiralonkorn does not forgive the punishment of the prisoners is that among these prisoners are people who know the secret drug dealings and rape cases of the king whom, if released, could reveal these secrets. Some of the prisoners in Thailand’s Immigration Detention Centers (IDC) have been disowned even by their native countries. In the IDCs in Thailand, the foreigners are being provided with all kinds of drugs for which the Thailand’s Immigration staff are making good money. The local and international so-called civil and human rights organizations are only fighting the human rights case on twitter. Similar is the situation in the Malaysian jails and immigration detention centers. The human rights organizations have done nothing for jail reforms. In this regard, when the director general of Prisons in Thailand, police colonel, SuchartWongananchai, was contacted, he revealed that many complaints have been received from jails and that many culprits have been caught red handed, and that people belonging to the Department of Corrections who were found involved in drug supply and trafficking are being punished and tried for such crimes. The Director General of the Department of Corrections, SuchartWongananchai, further said that every year a summary of the prisoners is put before the King but his highness has only exercised the royal waiver of punishment once since his coronation. Foreign visitors contribute a great deal to the economies of Thailand and Malaysia, and if this inhuman behavior with the prisoners continue to prevail, people are going to stop visiting these countries.It is essential that some new reforms should be introduced in the prison system of Thailand and Malaysia. The medical profiling of each prisoner should be ensure both pre and after his stay inside. Similarly there must be an effective monitoring mechanism to check the food clothing and other requirements of inmates. The induction of electronic devices such CCTV cameras can reduce the problems of prisoners. There must be an awareness campaign for the jail authorities to sensitise them regarding the rights of prisoners. It is alleged that in these prisons there is only focus on men and women but there is no consideration regarding the rights of transgenders. It is alleged that they are sexually molested by inmates and even jail authorities. There must be separate cells for such transgenders.

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About the Author: Syed Fawad Ali Shah

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