Title: Prisons Statistics (Copyright Notice)

Researchers: Nathee Chitsawang

Year: 2014

Figure of convicts in thailand from 1974 to 2014 (40 years)

 According to the statistics, in Thailand it is found that the number of prison population has been growing almost every year. This is due to the number of national population in the country and also the rise in the social complexity. However, the decline in prisoner number occurring in some years can be also explained by a key factor: the collective Royal Pardon which is usually given to the prisoners during various national celebration events, the inmates having short remaining sentence terms will be released. As can be seen in the table, the years marked with* are those in which the Royal Pardon Decrees had been enforced. Thus, the number of prison population in the following years indicated either declining or stable figures depending on the number of prisoners receiving the Royal Pardon whether before or after September which is normally the month recording the statistics. It is worth noting that between 1974 and 1982, there was a slight increase in the prison population as the Royal Pardon Decrees were regularly issued. On the contrary, after that period of time, the collective Royal Pardon tended to be granted in every 4 ? 5 years. As such, the number of prisoner showed the rising figures. Nevertheless, from 1996 to 2002, there was a dramatic growth in number of prison population in many consecutive years as there was change in the criminal policy especially the urgent measures for combating the the spread of methamphetamine in Thai society. The methamphetamine became listed as the crucial and serious type of illicit drugs and those using it would be penalized and sentenced to prison. Unsurprisingly, more and more drug offenders, particularly drug users, were sent to serve tome behind bars. Moreover, the decrease in prison population could be observed during 2004 and 2007. Particularly, in 2003 when the total number of prison population was declined was declined from 254,070 to 167,142 in 2004. The crucial factor was the implementation of the Narcotics Addict Rehabilitation Act B.E.2545 (2002). Under this law, the drug users who needed a drug treatment. The diversion scheme was applied to take them out of criminal justice system and be treated in the military camps or rehabilitation centers or be on probation instead of receiving the prison sentence. Because of this, there were almost 100,000 inmates being from prisons in the next following year. After 2008, the prison population has been gradually increased due to the measures for preventing and suppressing drugs, together with the less frequent declaration of the Royal Pardon Decree which tends to happen every 4 ? 5 years. Therefore, the prison population has reached 310,596 in 2014 while the normal prison capacity is actually less than 200,000.