By The Nation
Hence, 60 civic organisations yesterday jointly called on the Justice Ministry to consider turning Ban Kanchanapisek into Thailand’s first privately-run correctional facility for young delinquents.
“Our network came up with this idea after seeing big differences between Ban Kanchanapisek and other correctional facilities,” academic Arunchat Guruwanich said yesterday.
He said his research showed that 84 per cent of the young inmates who had spent between six months and seven years at Ban Kanchanapisek had completely turned a new leaf.
“They learn to control their behaviour after attending programmes at Ban Kanchanapisek, which focuses on transforming inmates into good citizens,” he said.
Akarapong Boonmee, who was once admitted to Ban Kanchanapisek, said he learned first-hand how much trust the facility placed in the good in people.
“Ban Kanchanapisek treats all young inmates equally and believes in the value of everybody. Operating on a firm conviction that every delinquent can change for the better, Ban Kanchanapisek makes a big difference to the lives of the young people in its care,” Akarapong said.
He added that during his time at Ban Kanchanapisek, his perspectives expanded, he matured and became determined to never repeat his offence.
“I also became aware of the problems in society, and want to help others where I can,” he said.
Ban Kanchanapisek has been run as a pilot-government project for years, and there are no direct laws to support its operations. However, with the Justice Ministry planning to allow privately-run correctional facilities to take care of young inmates, several civic organisations believe Ban Kanchanapisek should go private and become an example for others to follow.
There are some 7,000 young inmates in Thailand, most caught for drugs-related offences.
The government believes privately-run correctional institutes will help ease overcrowding at state-run facilities and provide young inmates with a better chance at life and also help them complete their education.
Tawatchai Thaikyo, Justice Ministry’s deputy permanent-secretary, said the ministry has drawn up a draft regulation on privately-run correctional facilities.
“As of now, the Juvenile Observation and Projection Department is in the process of discussing the draft with the Council of State,” he said.