The Justice Ministry wants to build 42 new prisons which will include a number of so-called super-maximum security jails at a cost of 30 billion baht.
Justice Minister Chaikasem Nitisiri said the ministry was preparing to submit the prison construction plan to the cabinet for approval.
None of the jails are planned for Bangkok. Most are planned for the Northeast and, further south, some in Songkhla and Nakhon Si Thammarat.
Department of Corrections director-general Suchart Wongananchai said some super-maximum security prisons would be among the new 42 prisons to be built.
For the super-maximum security jails, the processes for selecting both the inmates and the warders would be stricter than for an ordinary prison, Pol Col Suchart said.
In the meantime, Pol Col Suchart said he had told supervisors of the current 17 prisons that are either equipped with mobile phone signal jammers or have stringent security to counter the smuggling of communication devices, to try their best to prevent inmates from communicating with their drug networks on the outside.
Despite the measures, corrections staff still intercepted attempts to smuggle mobile phones into these prisons from time to time, Pol Col Suchart said.
Some had been arrested for attempting to throw mobile phones into the Khao Bin maximum security prison in Ratchaburi, he said.
At Klongpai Central Prison in Nakhon Ratchasima province, authorities confiscated a remote-controlled helicopter that had been modified to carry five mobile phones and accessories and drop them into Zone 5 of the prison, Pol Col Suchart said.
"A smartphone, for instance, can fetch 100,000 baht while an iPhone costs 300,000 baht each when they are smuggled into a prison," he said.
The idea of granting a concession to a private company to manage the prisons was also being considered, he said.
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