Crime & Justice

Thai prisoners clean sewers to reduce sentences

Bangkok, Aug 19 (EFE).- A team of over 20 Thai prisoners are unclogging the sewers near a former tobacco factory in Bangkok.

Although an unrewarding task, the inmates are reducing their sentences as well as helping with the consequences of recurrent flooding in the Thai capital.

“The prisoners can reduce their sentences, so for example, if they work for a month, they will have one month less in prison,” Anek Kaewdam, a prison official in charge of the programme, tells Efe.

As for salaries, the inmates earn 70% of the pay while the remaining 30% goes to the prison, Kaewdam says, without revealing the amount the prisoners are paid for their work.

The programme kicked off on July 1 and is expected to last for about five months, coinciding with the monsoon season when flooding in Bangkok is common due to heavy rains.

The some 1,000 prisoners accepted in the programme are all first-time offenders and cannot have committed crimes against national security or the monarchy.

Thailand has the 10th highest prisoner ratio in the world, with 411 prisoners per 100,000 people and a prison population three times its capacity, according to the World Prison Brief.

Reduced sentences through labor is one of the policies aimed at reducing overcrowding of prisons across the country as well as allowing inmates to earn an income before being released. EFE


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