The Department of Corrections is preparing to separate lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) prisoners from other prisoners to ensure their safety and security.
Kobkiat Kasiwiwat, the deputy permanent secretary for justice, said LGBT inmates could be kept in dedicated facilities to protect them from being abused by other prisoners.
Min Buri Prison would be used as a prison for LGBT prisoners under a pilot scheme, he added. Mr Kobkiat was speaking after a meeting Tuesday at Pattaya Remand Prison which was attended by officials from the Office of the Ombudsman, Justice Ministry and human rights activists.
He said domestic and foreign human rights networks had called on the ministry to set up a prison for LGBT prisoners. Transgender prisoners in particular feared they would fall victim to abuse when they were locked up with male prisoners. Transgenders are usually sent to male prisons, as they are sorted according to the name on their ID cards.
There are 4,448 prisoners who have agreed to be classified as LGBT: 2,258 females, 2,156 males and 34 transgender people, according to the Department of Corrections. LGBT inmates account for about 1% of the total of 300,000 prisoners.
Pattaya Remand Prison chief Chartpon Arphasut, who also attended the meeting, said LGBT inmates could be more vulnerable to sexual abuse.
He said transgender prisoners are separated from male prisoners at Pattaya Remand Prison, adding they were often found to be victims of abuse by male inmates. But they work alongside male prisoners in the prison.
At Pattaya Remand, health workers give physical examinations to transgender inmates who are asked to identify their desired gender, he added.