Wanted: Foreign Inmates Teaching English Lessons to Thai Prisoners

Inmates listen to a speech at Kalasin Provincial Prison on July 29, 2020.

BANGKOK (Xinhua) — Thai Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin on Wednesday told the media that he had suggested the Corrections Department to lay out measures, using foreign inmates to teach English to fellow Thai prisoners to supplement their occupational training.

“It will be good for the future job prospects for all inmates if they can pick up English from their fellow English-speaking inmates,” said Somsak.

“We need to maximize all our resources in the Thai prisons,” he said.

Somsak said that he came up with this idea after he and Labour Minister Chatu Mongol Sonakul earlier signed an agreement to step up cooperation between the Justice and Labour ministries to address the problem of ex-convict unemployment.

Under the signed agreement, the Employment and Skill Development departments of the Labour Ministry will provide training courses in various occupations for inmates before they are released and issue them a certificate to convince business operators to hire them.

Meanwhile, Chatu Mongol said that the two ministries are already cooperating to provide skills training for inmates.

In 2019, 8,084 inmates received occupational training and 70 to 80 percent of them found jobs after being released, said the labour minister.

He also said that in 2020, the two ministries aim to train 1,840 inmates for jobs that are in demand, such as construction workers, carpenters and electricians.

“Being able to communicate in English could be a major step forward for prisoners and youths in correction program to be able to return to society with greater job opportunities, Somsak said.

The justice minister also said the Corrections Department is responsible for selecting inmates for training.

Already between 20,000-30,000 inmates have been targeted, said Somsak.