Govt bid to help ex-convicts find jobs

Govt bid to help ex-convicts find jobs

Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin
Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin

The Ministry of Justice plans to establish skill development centres for unemployed prisoners after their release in the hope to reduce the number of jobless ex-convicts.

After a meeting with a steering committee on human rights affairs on Sunday, Minister of Justice Somsak Thepsutin said the ministry wants to establish skill development centres to promote employment of former prisoners.

The ministry had proposed the project to the Ministry of Finance and asked it to provide double tax deductions for two years for companies to hire former prisoners.

The tax deduction scheme began in February.

The minister urged other ministries with large land holdings to surrender some of it for the purpose of building centres to help reduce unemployment among former prisoners.

"We do not want to build more jails," Mr Somsak said.

"But if we have to, the new prisons will be 'soft' prisons which are cheaper to build. They will also serve as places where we develop skills for inmates."

The ministry is improving prisons nationwide to provide sufficient space or 1.2 square metres for each inmate in respect of human rights.

The minister added prisoners must have work skills before their release. Right now, there are not enough workers in the country as many workers have moved to other countries to find work.

At the meeting, the steering committee on human rights affairs lauded the Ministry of Justice's work.

It was particularly impressed with its call for the government to declare human rights as a national agenda and the launch of a national action plan on business and human rights for the first time in Asia.

The meeting suggested the ministry work with government and private organisations to develop work skills for inmates during and after imprisonment to help their reintegration into society.

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