The Thai prison system is currently working to turn a few dozens of prisons across the country into tourist attractions. Yes, you heard right! Thai Justice Minister Somsak Thpustin said. As part of preparing Thailand tourism to re-open, the attraction which is the visit to the prison and getting to know it closely will be offered. Activities such as the “Chefs Behind Bars” competition and souvenir shops where prisoners’ artwork can be purchased will be incorporated.
Currently, the program is already piloting five active prisons in Thailand, Those are; Trat, Rayong, Ratchaburi, and Nakon Rachasima. In 2021 the Thai Justice Minister’s plan is to expand the idea to 67 other prisons. By the end of 2021, the program is expected to operate in half of all prisons in Thailand (143 in total).
Of course, not each and every prison will be able to run the tourism program. The program will always put safety at first, checking closely which one would be able to work that out safely is a long process that is being carefully taken before any approval is given. There are more restricted prisons with inmates who will not be able to work well with tourists. The program is currently in a pilot phase, to see if one of the “active” prisons (as an attraction) becomes particularly popular. So, the Thai Ministry of Justice is expected to team up with the Ministry of Tourism and Sports to encourage tourism to the new attraction.