They don’t normally do pardons every year for the prisoners but there have been two now in recent months. First for the King’s birthday last December when about 30,000 were released and now another 30,000 for the combined birthday celebrations for the Queen and the Crown Prince. Thais see certain birthdays as more auspicious than others so there is no saying there will be another pardon at the end of the year.
Today, 10,000 prisoners are expected to be released. These are mainly petty criminals with less than one year to serve. They include both the young, the old, the sick and the disabled. A further 20,000 prisoners have had their sentences reduced. Full details for this haven’t been released yet but it doesn’t usually include people who have been in prison before. It also won’t include Thaksin as he needs to be in prison to actually qualify. When prisoners first arrive they are given a grade. After a certain number of months this is reviewed and the grade then goes up or down. Only prisoners with good grades can get a pardon. Thaksin doesn’t have a grade at all.
For more information about life in a Thai prison, visit my ThaiPrisonLife.com website.