New prisoners put in isolation wards nationwide
Newly arrived inmates at prisons nationwide will be placed in isolation units for 14 days and undergo a health check before they can be assigned to cells, according to Pol Col Naras Savestanan, director-general of the Corrections Department.
He said yesterday it must be assumed first that all new inmates as well as those who left the prisons briefly to stand trial and returned are likely to have contracted the coronavirus, which requires them to be put under observation.
Pol Col Naras said it was important to keep those in high-risk groups separate to eliminate the possibility of thousands of prisoners falling sick.
Prisons have set aside isolation quarters for newly arrived inmates who will have their temperature checked daily for the duration of their confinement there.
He said there were more than 10 isolation units each at the Central Correctional Institution for Drug Addicts and the Bangkok Remand Prison. However, managing such facilities especially in small prisons in the provinces with few wardens can pose problems.
Pol Col Naras added the inmates in some provincial prisons suspected of having the Covid-19 virus were being tested. One of them, an inmate at the Saraburi Prison, has been given a clean bill of health.
Results of tests on other inmates at prisons in Chachoengsao, Phetchaburi and Prachin Buri are pending.
The department has enforced a stringent policy to fight the spread of Covid-19. Prisons have been closed to visitors including inmates' own family members while vocational training programmes have been suspended.
Also provided is a video link where inmates will hear court rulings in their trials remotely from prison, according to Pol Col Naras.
Department officials were following up on the Covid-19 situation. They were keeping in close contact with prisons nationwide via teleconferences.
Meanwhile, Wisit Wisitsoraat, permanent secretary of justice, said the Justice Ministry and the Courts of Justice will discuss how to conduct health screening of suspects remanded in court custody.