Proposals to tackle four justice challenges and put the interests of the people back at the centre of the Thai criminal justice system – perspectives from the iCPCJ 2022

Proposals to tackle four justice challenges and put the interests of the people back at the centre of the Thai criminal justice system – perspectives from the iCPCJ 2022

The TIJ-UNODC Public Forum: People-centred justice solutions brings forward collaborative policy recommendations and actions in response to the justice problems and difficulties faced by the people in Thailand.

 “People-centred justice” is upheld as the fundamental guiding principle cutting across all four issues discussed under the iCPCJ initiatives – access to justice for the people with specific needs, application of alternative justice measures, social reintegration for offenders, and building trust in crime prevention and criminal justice. 

The identified people-centred justice solutions explore the following topics of discussion:

  • Unintended consequences of imprisonment affecting the children of inmates who may have to spend time in prison in order to be with their parents. This is a major problem that society has overlooked. Policy recommendations to support and protect the rights of these children hope to promote non-custodial approaches and multi-stakeholder cooperation in place of imprisonment to reduce the undesirable impact on the innocent children (Getting the Right Start: Recognising the Rights of the Children of Prisoners).
  • The policy support for reducing reoffending among young offenders with high risk should be better understood in order to promote services that reflect their true needs. In this regard, tools developed under the “Good Lives Model” can be employed to aid the network of action in their efforts to create reintegration opportunities (Supporting the effective reintegration of young offenders with assessment tools under the "Good Lives Model").
  • Once the young offenders are convicted and brought into custody, it becomes more difficult for them to be successfully reintegrated into society. Those taken into controlled facilities of juvenile training centres are more likely to repeat offences.  During this session, possible ideas for transforming barricades and detention into more responsive measures including setting up of "private training centres" have been proposed, using the House of Blessing foundation as a sandbox of cooperation between the private training centre and the Department of Juvenile Observation and Protection supporting the process of rehabilitation, recovery, and assisting children who made a mistake in the social reintegration process.

(The House of Blessing, a sandbox for collaborative justice)

  • The threats and financial losses from the ubiquitous call scams involving financial fraud and illicit transfers have affected people all over Thailand. Responsible agencies have been questioned about their capabilities to speedily track such criminal activities and return assets to the victims. These lead to a set of policy recommendations in the topic of "Turning Victims into Hunters of Call Center Gangs (Winning the People's battle against phone scams in Thailand)".

The proposals reflect the collective studies and viewpoints of the participants of the Executive Programme for the Implementation of International Standards and Norms in Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (iCPCJ). The iCPCJ is launched by the TIJ and the UNODC for the first time this year as a capacity building programme in Thailand dedicated to providing the most up-to-date international knowledge, innovative tools, and collaborative platformsfor translating ideas into real actions. iCPCJ participants are high-level justice professionals and aspiring justice leaders from both public and private sectors who demonstrate passion to deliver more effective and responsive justice for all.

At the public forum, Prof. Dr. Kittipong Kittayarak, TIJ Advisor and iCPCJ Chair, stressed the centrality of people-centred justice as the conceptual framework for advancing criminal justice services, addressing the problems and solutions through the lens and actual experiences of people. 

Mr. Jeremy Douglas, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Regional Representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, emphasised the strong partnership between the TIJ and the UNODC in promoting the implementation of international standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice in Thailand and Southeast Asia. He also updated that a new international guideline on reducing reoffending, a subject which was raised many times at the forum, is being developed by the UNODC and UN Member States.  

Closing with a conclusion from Dr. Phiset Sa-ardyen, Director of Thailand Institute of Justice, who left forum participants with three thought provoking takeaways of the day. Firstly, it is extremely important that criminal justice does not leave anyone behind as the rights of all groups must be protected, whether children of the imprisoned parents or young offenders. Secondly, we should explore and promote alternative policies and legal instruments that minimise avoidable hardships and structural disadvantages afflicting the most vulnerable people. Lastly, multi-stakeholder partnerships and open participation may lead to creative and inspiring answers to the longstanding justice problems 

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