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Prison security being stepped up in face of rising political unrest

Letters pasted on the name board outside Bangkok Remand Prison by protesters on Wednesday. They read out 112 letters to four protest leaders detained there under  charges laid under Section 112, the lese majeste law - Arnon Nampa, Parit
Letters pasted on the name board outside Bangkok Remand Prison by protesters on Wednesday. They read out 112 letters to four protest leaders detained there under charges laid under Section 112, the lese majeste law – Arnon Nampa, Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, Somyos Prueksakasemsuk and Patiwat Saraiyaem. (Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)

Security is being stepped up at prisons nationwide, including installation of more security cameras, in response to the increasing political unrest, Corrections Department director-general Aryut Sinthoppan said on Wednesday.

Mr Aryut said he had sent an urgent letter, dated March 3, to all provincial governors, advising them of the necessity of step up security at all government offices and installations because political groups were stirring up unrest in many areas, including some prisons.

This had resulted in damage to prison property and affected the image of the Corrections Department, he said.

Mr Aryut said all prisons, including the Lat Yao group (which encompasses Klong Prem Central Prison, the Women’s Central Prison and Bangkok Remand Prison), had been instructed to do as follows:

– Install more CCTV cameras to cover every area of the facilities;
– Roster security guards in positions on the outer perimeter of the prisons around the clock. The guards must be under the supervision of prison warders; and
– There must be security guards patrolling the prison walls, both inside and outside the prisons. Prison warders must be in radio communication with each other at all times.  Outsiders and vehicles entering prison areas must be closely watched.

Mr Aryut said all prison commanders had been instructed to keep prisons under their supervision in good order.

The Bangkok Remand Prison, in particular, has during the past month become the target of anti-government demonstrators demanding the release of protest leaders held in detention.

The most recent was on Feb 28.

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