Is 'White Prison' making Bang Khwang a darker place?
A new programme bringing drastic changes to the notorious 'Bangkok Hilton' reduces prisoner privileges in the name of greater control. 'Spectrum' takes a look at current conditions through the eyes of past and present inmates and the people who visit them
Bang Khwang Central Prison is undergoing a transformation under an initiative aimed at ridding the notorious "Bangkok Hilton" and eight other facilities of drugs and other contraband. The "White Prison" policy came into effect last May under new director Vasant Singkaselit. Under the policy, visitors have been banned from bringing food, clothes or other items for prisoners; even books are banned. Prisoners are allowed to meet visitors once a day for 45 minutes, up to two visits a week, while visitors can only seen one inmate per day. Inmate workshops have been cancelled, punishments have become harsher and access to help in case of medical or fire emergencies has been limited.
NO WALK IN THE PARK: Jail cells line both sides of a corridor at Bang Kwang prison.
While some prisoners have reported that the drive has resulted in a safer environment with less drugs in circulation and fewer instances of shackling, most inmates as well as right activists say that officials are going overboard with enforcement.
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