Bangkwang Central Prison

Essay by teh~sabrina January 2008

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Bangkwang is a prison in central Thailand. It is nicknamed “Big Tiger”, because the prison “eats people up”. It is often referred to as “The Bangkok Hilton”. The prison has many foreign prisoners along with natives. It is a harsh prison that handles death row and long-sentence prisoners. For the first three months of their sentences it is required for all prisoners to wear leg irons. Death row inmates have their leg irons permanently welded on. Prisoners are expected to purchase their own food from the prison canteen. The entire prison works on a chit system. Each prisoner has an account with the canteen. Poor prisoners do chores for wealthier prisoners and prison guards to earn the money for food. Some prisoners, such as the British prisoners receive extra money per month from certain charities. The British Embassy also provides food and vitamins for their prisoners. Most prisoners aren’t quite so lucky though.

Some prisoners deal drugs within the prison to make money. A large majority of the prisoners do drugs so it’s pretty profitable. Prisoners are also provided with cooking facilities and all gas used by these cooking facilities is provided by the prison. The history of Bangkwang Central Prison can be traced back to the year of 1902 when King Rama V had arranged to buy a large piece of land in Nonthaburi province in order to construct a prison for all long-term prisoners. The construction started in 1927 and finished in 1931. The prison is divided into thirteen separate sections and the total compound area is about 80 acres. The intended capacity for Bangkwang was about 4,000 inmates, however, at present there are about 8,000. There are 25 work shops, one auditorium, one hospital, eleven dormitories, and eleven dining halls. Outside the walls are 2,406 meters...