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News Forum - Covid-19 in prison: outbreaks from overcrowding now subsiding


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The Thai prison system has suffered from an overcrowding problem for years, but the Covid-19 pandemic has starkly illustrated the dangers of it. In prisons, there have been 72,359 Covid-19 infections, making them more infected than any single province except Bangkok (1st) and its neighbours Samut Prakan (2nd) and Samut Sakhon (4th) and Chon Buri (3rd). Thailand has the 6th largest prison population in the world and the highest incarceration rate of females in the world. The most recent official statistic for the capacity of all Thai prisons was in 2015, stating 217,000 is the maximum incarcerated people Thailand could […]

The story Covid-19 in prison: outbreaks from overcrowding now subsiding as seen on Thaiger News.

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The article is a watered down press release. The money POURED into the prisons has been spent on protective equipment for staff, education for staff, overtime for staff, makeshift walkthrough antiseptic sprayers, masks and, I assume, some Covid testing kits. The claimed vaccinated numbers tell the real story but odd that no % are expressed. Do the math.The arguably most vulnerable section of Thailand’s population has the lowest vaccination rate in the country. Why? Access isn’t a problem. Compliance isn’t a problem. And only 164 deaths in 400+ prisons? How many prisoners were transferred to hospital the day before or the day they died? That is a common occurrence and means the prison doesn’t have to record or explain a death in custody. And why not write a real article that clearly highlights this negligence, incompetence, abuse instead of transposing a virtual press release?

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"Overcrowding is widespread with nearly every single prison reporting a population higher than its maximum capacity. The majority of inmates are held on drug offences – 288,648 in 2020, about 77%."

If ever there was a good reason to legalize and/or decriminalize! Make weed legal and offer help for Yaba users and the like with the cash saved.

 

I really wish that the government would get off the proverbial pot (Boo! Boo! Groan! Er... sorry) on this and just go full throttle ahead on full legalization/decriminalization. 
 
The benefits of legalization are pretty clear and well-known; weed is a highly profitable cash crop that will assist in Thailand's recovery from the economic harm caused by Covid, it'll assist in the return of tourists in Asia as the only country smart enough to use it as an inducement, it'll attract the young tourists who will fund Thailand's tourist trade into the future (how many reading this first came to Thailand at a young age, then returned again and again?) and it'll be one more item differentiating Thailand from the other regional places with natural beauty, nice beaches, great food and hot chicks.
 
The first country in Asia to go ahead and do it will have significant advantages. First, the sheer 'newness' will provide an initial instant market. Second, whichever country goes first will essentially set the rules for the continent (governments globally have a tendency to copy each other), and those rules can be written to Thailand's benefit. Third, beyond the laws, there are always regulatory issues to deal with on any new product and these tend to be copied as well. Moreover, Thailand, should it go first, will have a huge time advantage in creating a new system of distribution and taxation. Finally, Thailand will get a massive head-start on growing, marketing and providing weed to the whole continent; given a clean, clear head start, Thailand could easily be the continental leader of a new, multi-billion dollar industry in Asia for generations.
 
Is there much risk involved? No, not really. Eighteen countries and several American states have already legalized weed and suffered no real downside. Will the Thai people be okay with it? I would guess fewer violent incidents as young people having a doobie are less likely to be violent than those slurping moonshine whiskey or popping Yaba. Will the roads be safer? Again, it is an opinion, but yes; I have, or rather know some people who have, driven drunk and driven high, and high is safer. Will there be some down-sides? Yes, but simply put any culture which allows the sale of alcohol should also allow the sale of weed and chill out on the rest. 
 
Full legalization of weed is basically a good 'get rich quick' scheme, would make Thailand a 'Hub' of a new industry and empty out the jails; aren't these three reasons enough to pull the trigger? And, three reasons that Thailand can directly benefit from?
 
Make the call Thailand, or watch another country reap all the rewards.
 
 

 

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This is not my area of expertise as I have no time for it, or desire for it. But legalisation would get it out in the plain light of day. The value of these crops would plummet once they are readily available. In my country there has been a slow shift to legalise cannabis for medicinal purposes. Legalising it in this way actually brought control back to the government, rather than control being in the hands of drug cartels. I do expect that conservative Thailand would take a lot oo convincing. The Opium Wars still loom large in the consciousness of Thailand. It will be interesting to see what happens.

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3 hours ago, Jason said:

This is not my area of expertise as I have no time for it, or desire for it. But legalisation would get it out in the plain light of day. The value of these crops would plummet once they are readily available. In my country there has been a slow shift to legalise cannabis for medicinal purposes. Legalising it in this way actually brought control back to the government, rather than control being in the hands of drug cartels. I do expect that conservative Thailand would take a lot oo convincing. The Opium Wars still loom large in the consciousness of Thailand. It will be interesting to see what happens.

A good post, but I think that I made my initial post too... wordy and complicated to get my main point across.

My thoughts are quite simple; if Thailand has 288,648 people in jail for drugs (about 77% of the prison population) then that is a waste of Thai lives and a waste of Thai money. Yes, perhaps there are a few hardcore criminals who should be behind bars, but I imagine that most would be better served without jail time, and I think that their families and Thai society in general would also be better served.

Large-scale heroin dealers? Lock then up.

Weed-smokers? Don't put them in jail; rehabilitate them (if needed), save money on prisons, don't squish them in so tight that Covid is virtually guaranteed, and allow them to actually have a productive life after they get busted.

Or, even better, legalize and collect taxes.

Giving a criminal record to a person, especially a young person, just scars them for life. Legalize it, teach your children properly and keep people out of jail; it is a better way to go.

PS I think that conservative Thais are actually ready for legal weed, but only time will tell for sure.

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The overwhelming majority of inmates in prison for drugs are in for yaba and methamphetamines (ice), not marijuana. Inmates sentenced to prison for marijuana possession normally had kilograms of the stuff so they were dealers or maybe just unfortunate avid gardeners :-)  Your average pot smoker pays a fine. Your average ice smoker with more than 0.375 of a gram of ice often goes to prison. 2 years ago possession of over 0.375 of a gram, by law, meant the person WAS selling, no evidence required. That’s part of the reason 70%+ of the prisoners are in for drugs, not because they smoke a joint or 10. 
That’s a long way of saying you’re barking up the wrong tree if you think the marijuana law is the cause of the imprisonments. 

Edited by Fanta
Added: in prison to sentenced
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