Thailand to Release 29 Violent Offenders on Electronic Monitoring



Thailand’s Corrections Department is set to release 29 inmates to be the first to be required to wear an electronic tag as part of a new law aimed at preventing repeat offenders of sexual and violent crimes.

According to Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin, the law could see former convicts monitored by the newly established Justice Safety Observation Ad Hoc Center for up to ten years.

He also stated that the Criminal Court has the authority to both shorten and lengthen the period of post-release surveillance and re-incarcerate former inmates who violate the terms of their release.

The law, published in the Royal Gazette on October 25, last year, went into effect on Monday.

Among other controversial provisions, the new law seeks to reduce reoffending among sex offenders and violent criminals by allowing the chemical castration of convicted rapists before release.

According to Mr. Somsak, the law was approved quickly, after a year and nine months of preparation, before it was published in the Royal Gazette. He said, a committee is currently holding two discussions that may result in equally rapid amendments to the law.

The first, led by the ministry, took place on Monday and focused on ministerial regulations on the law’s implementation.

Another session, scheduled for today and led by the ministry’s deputy permanent secretary, Sahakorn Petchnarin, will look at ways to prevent repeat offenses and how ex-convicts are monitored.

If changes are recommended, they will be submitted to a court for decision, according to the ministry.

According to Mr. Somsak, the law is expected to not only reduce violent and sexual crimes but also to eventually remove the death penalty from Thailand’s statute book.

Sexual Offenders in Thailand

Rape punishments in Thailand are harsher than in many other countries. Convicted sex offenders, for example, can face life in prison or death in the case of fatal rapes.

However, when offenders cooperate with the police, the majority of cases go unpunished or result in reduced sentences.

If a crime is committed against a child aged 15 or younger, such as the schoolgirl, the offender faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of 100,000 to 400,000 baht ($3,198 to $12,795).

If the assault was recorded on video for exploitation, the sentence can be increased by a third, or by half if the clip was shared with others.

Judges rarely impose the death penalty on offenders because convicted individuals frequently confess their crimes and are considered entitled to a sentence reduction at the discretion of the judges.

Rape is still a major issue in Thailand. Every year, stories of abuse and violence against adults and children make national headlines. According to Royal Thai Police data, 1,965 rape complaints were filed between January 1 and December 31, 2019, with 1,893 people arrested as a result.

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