BANGKOK – Thai Ministry of Justice has introduced a new regulation to use electronic monitoring of offenders, allowing convicts to serve a jail term outside correctional facilities.
Announced in the Royal Gazette, the new ministerial regulation is meant to bring the country’s criminal justices system into line with many first world country.Deputy Director Kobkiat Kasiwiwat
The new regulation will enable prisoners who have already served a third of their term to leave the correctional facilities if they have eligible needs. These prisoners will still remain under surveillance of authorities in a designated place or do not enter proscribed areas by using electronic monitoring devices such as wrist bracelets and ankle bracelets. The electronic devices will allow authorities to continuously track them.
Apart from bringing the country’s criminal justice system into line with the first world country’s standard, the new scheme could effectively reduce prison populations, said Corrections Department Deputy Director Kobkiat Kasiwiwat.
Despite the law has been put in place, the Corrections Department is still not ready to enforce it on electronic tagging of offenders, saying it had yet to acquire the devices and do not have alternative custodial facilities.
“We need the devices first,” said Kasiwiwat. “The Budget Bureau has not yet allocated funds for these devices.”
“Currently, the department does not have electronic monitoring devices to use with eligible offenders, nor alternative places for incarceration besides prisons,” he added.
He also said the tagging devices were expensive and his agency could not procure them prior to the promulgation of the law.
“Although the law has taken effect, the Ministry of Justice and Corrections Department still have to carry out a feasibility study and come up with an effective procurement plan first. So we now neither have extra places [for custody] nor the control devices,” he added.
Meanwhile, Justice Minister Pracha Promnok said authorities would have to plan the surveillance and put the devices on trial too.
The Probation Department also said it might consider leasing the devices to comply with the new law.