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Thailand considers LGBTI-only jail

Thailand considers LGBTI-only jail

Minburi Remand Prison on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand.

Thailand’s government is considering opening a new jail that would house only LGBTI inmates.

In what would be a world first the prison would be built to protect LGBTI inmates from violence.

Since 1993 Thailand has kept LGBTI prisoners from other inmates to reduce the risk of harm they face.

The Pattaya Remand jail segregates LGBTI inmates in the evenings but they exercise and eat with other prisoners during the day.

‘If we didn’t separate them, people could start fighting over partners to sleep with,’ Pattaya Remand warden Watcharavit Vachiralerphum told Associated Press.

‘It could lead to rape, sexual assault, and the spread of disease.’

‘It’d be easier to control, easier to take care of, easier to develop and improve their habits and behaviour.

‘But they have to mix with other inmates because once they’re released, they’ll have to rejoin a diverse society.’

About Thailand’s LGBTI only jail

The segregated prison will initially run as a pilot program at the Minburi prison on the outskirts of Bangkok.

About 4500 of Thailand’s 300,000 current prisoner population identifies as LGBTI and current LGBTI inmates support the idea of a segregated jail.

‘There are people that discriminate against gays,” said gay inmate, Chawalit Chankiew.

‘If I happen to sleep next to someone who hates gay people, I wouldn’t know it unless they show it. What if they hurt me one day?’

However international prison expert Jean-Sebastian Blanc of the Association for the Prevention of Torture does not support the idea of an LGBTI only jail.

“Building and reallocating an entire prison facility for LGBT prisoners is as a matter of fact a measure of segregation,” he said.

“There is a significant difference between a public health policy aiming at preventing transmissible diseases and segregating a segment of the population on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Other countries have already started keeping LGBTI prisoners seperate including the United States and Nepal recently floated the idea to run a similar program.

Proposals to build ‘pink prisons’ in Turkey and Italy were shutdown over fears LGBTI inmates could face worse conditions because of and a segregated prison was a form of discrimination.