By THE NATION
Related Thai agencies have cooperated to create a vocational training project enabling well-behaved inmates to serve as daily workers at factories and earn Bt325 a day.
Two Cabinet ministers yesterday morning visited Greatwall (1988) Co Ltd in Pathum Thani province to show moral support to the 21 inmates working there as welders, rubber-tile layers and door assemblers for a daily wage.
The inmates – escorted by two wardens – work from Monday to Saturday from 8am to 5pm and are provided with rides to and from the work site, along with a lunch meal from the prison. The project is a collaboration between the Department of Corrections, the Department of Employment, the Department of Skills Development, the Federation of Thai Industries and the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said ACM Prajin Juntong, the deputy prime minister and justice minister, who toured the site.
Labour Minister Pol General Adul Sangsingkeo also joined the tour and explained that the project aimed to help 37,000 inmates and comprised two phases.
The first phase has so far seen 24,562 inmates out of the target of 27,000 inmates undergo training and go to work.
A total of 18,793 have been trained in making handicrafts and have produced such pieces from inside the prisons, while another 1,266 good-behaviour inmates with less than a year to serve have been working in business establishments. Another 4,503 were trained in prison for vocational skills, including tile-laying and electrical appliance repair.
The second phase was divided into two groups – those attending an inmate preparation course before release and those already out and working at jobs.
The first group has so far involved 10,535 inmates, above the target of 10,000. A total of 7,211 inmates have undergone vocational counselling, observed the independent career demonstration and registered for the employment matching service, while another 3,324 inmates have taken vocational skill tests.
The second group has seen 394 ex-convicts get jobs at companies and another 71 ex-convicts working at freelance jobs such as mushroom farming or welding.