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PM to consider ‘feasibility’ of plan to train convicts to make weapons

Oct 31. 2017
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By The Nation

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Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha on Tuesday defended the idea that the Royal Thai Army Ordnance Department would train prisoners convicted of illegally making or modifying guns to boost their vocational skills so they would not return to crime.

The premier said the Corrections Department normally provided inmates with vocational training such as carpentry. 

“Since, we [the Ministry of Defence] have work in manufacturing weapons and these people have some initial skills, they could have use this as a chance in the future for decent jobs, correct? Such as becoming workers for the ordinance department, right? Or else it would be a missed opportunity,” he said, adding that he would discuss screening and feasibility with the Corrections Department. 

“This is a change in the old way of thinking that would allow people to have some values in themselves, not just arresting, prosecuting and then releasing them from jail with nothing to do and returning them to the old life of crime. We have to think in a new way to find appropriate methods to do this,” he added.

Meanwhile, Corrections Department chief Pol Colonel Narat Sawettanan said his office would submit a list of names and the initial information pertaining to 11 inmates who had been convicted of illegally making or modifying guns.

The Royal Thai Army Ordnance Department is supposed to conduct in-depth background checks before possibly enrolling them in training. 

Narat earlier had instructed all 142 prisons to survey inmates for training potential. He said the number of inmates qualified for the training might be in the dozens but not as many as 100.

 

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