Can Thaksin stay out of prison?
“Does Thaksin really have to be behind bars?” was the tantalizing heading of a Facebook post written by Assistant Professor Dr. Parinya Dewanrumitkul, a law faculty lecturer at Thammasat University, that popped up on the social media platform today (September 5).
Thaksin Shinawatra, who recently saw his 8-year jail term reduced to one year in a pardon granted by H.M. the King, is currently receiving treatment at the Police Hospital for a range of conditions.
But whether he can stay out of prison for the remaining term of his sentence is down to the Ministry of Justice, which in 2020 issued new regulations concerning sending an incarcerated person for medical treatment outside of prison.
In summary, the criteria are as follows:
If the incarcerated person is unwell, and the prison hospital cannot provide adequate treatment, the prison authorities have the authority to permit the individual to receive medical treatment outside of prison. This may even involve private hospitals if necessary.
However, if such medical treatment outside of prison exceeds 30 days, any continuation must be approved by the director-general of the Department of Corrections in addition to the treating physician. If it exceeds 60 days, the director-general's approval is required, and a report must be submitted to the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Justice. If the treatment exceeds 120 days, it must be reported to the Minister of Justice.
But what if it exceeds 120 days? This is not impossible, as under the regulations, a stay of 4 to 6 months or even a year can be granted provided it is based on the physician's opinion that the medical condition still requires treatment outside of prison and has the approval of the director-general.
In summary, as long as Thaksin remains ill to the extent that the prison hospital cannot provide treatment, he can receive treatment outside of prison. However, once he recovers, he must return to serve his sentence in prison.