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Questionnaire for the Secretariat of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on the issue of detention of drug users

1. Please describe the legal and institutional framework governing the deprivation of liberty of drug users in your country, in particular the provisions of substantive criminal law, if any, applicable to drug users.

The Narcotic Addict Rehabilitation Act (2002) is the legal framework to treat drug users in detention based on the principle that drug users are not criminals but patients that need treatment.  Under Article 19 of the Act, any alleged offender on charges of consumption and/or possession and/or sales of narcotic drugs in amounts that exceeds the regulation of the Ministry of Justice, must be brought to the court within 48 hours of the arrest for examination of drug usage or addiction. If the alleged offender is under 18 years old, he must be brought to the court for examination within 24 hours.  If it is proven that the alleged offender is a drug user or addict, he must undergo rehabilitation until the Narcotic Addict Rehabilitation Sub-committee approves his release. Upon the release from rehabilitation centres, if the public prosecutor institiutes proceedings against the alleged offender, he must undergo due judicial process.  If the public prosecutor drops the case against the alleged offender, he is then released.

 

2. What measures of deprivation of liberty can be applied, respectively, including, but not limited to, detention in the criminal law context; administrative detention; compulsory admittance to detoxification or similar facilities; detention at special establishments for juveniles, etc. What legal safeguards apply, particularly with respect to the possibility to challenge the legality of deprivation of liberty before a judicial body?

The Narcotic Addict Rehabilitation Act (2002) Article 19 Paragraph 2 stipulates that the court shall consider sending the alleged offender to rehabilitation centres for examination of the use of drugs.  At present, there are 3 rehabilitation systems in Thailand, namely, the Compulsory System, the Correctional System and the Voluntary System. 

 

a) Compulsory Rehabilitation System

     Since drug addicts will be treated as patients not criminals according to the Narcotic Addict Rehabilitation Act, they, if arrested, will be brought to the court by the inquiry officer to be examined for drug usage or drug addiction.  The court shall then inform the Sub-Committee for the Rehabilitation of Narcotic Addict in the area to examine the medical and social records of the suspect. If the Sub-Committee identifies that the alleged offender is a drug user or a drug addict, the person shall be registered in a rehabilitation programme not exceeding 6 months, with an evaluation of the treatment.  If the person does not pass the evaluation, the Sub-Committee shall extend such rehabilitation period by another 6 months at a time, provided that total period shall not exceed 3 years.  In the case of satisfactory result, the Sub-Committee shall release the person from custody without charge.  


 

b) Correction Rehabilitation System

The rehabilitation system for convicts of drug-related crimes that need treatment while serving his or her sentence in prison in accordance with the Narcotic Act. The Department of Corrections and the Department of Juvenile Protection and Observation under the Ministry of Justice are the responsible agencies for administering the Correction Rehabilitation System. 

i) The Department of Corrections is responsible for the drug users/addicts over the age of 18 that had committed drug-related crimes. There are 2 types of rehabilitation programmes.

                        (a) The Therapeutic Community (TC) method is used as the basis for the following 3 types of programmes; -1-Year-6-Month Retreat: a full TC programme for which the convicts undergoing the treatment shall receive a sentences for a period equal or longer than the period of the programme.  Prisons must have a specific compound to undertake the TC programme. -4 Month Intensive Programme: a programme designed for the convicts with shorter sentences. The programme focuses on vocational training and preparations for the convicts release. -Combination Programme: a flexible programme designed for prisons that do not have a specific compound for the TC program. While in detention in the prison, participants of the programme will be provided with various activities of the TC method which is suitable for the environment of each prison. The participants can also have vocational training and education.

                        (b) Development Correction School:  a 3 month programme designed for qualified drug-related the convicts to be trained and to develop their behaviour. Those who pass the evaluation will be granted parole in order to reintegrate into the society before the completion of their term of imprisonment.

 

ii) The Department of Juvenile Observation and Protection is responsible for the drug addicts younger than the age of 18 who had committed drug-related crimes. The rehabilitation programme put forward by the Department of Juvenile Observation and Protection is divided into 3 categories; -Drug Users: The programme rehabilitates and focuses on the self-awareness of the person on the use of drugs and the consequences as well as build up self- protection skills against the reuse of drugs. (15 hours within 3 months) -Drug Addicts: The programme rehabilitates, with emphasis on the awareness of the negative consequences of drugs and measures against the reuse of drugs. (30 hours within 4 months) -Hardcore Drug Addicts: The programme uses the method of Therapeutic Community. (1 year)
 

c) Voluntary Rehabilitation System

     The rehabilitation system for drug addicts who voluntarily enter the treatment and rehabilitation programme. They are considered as patients? under the responsibility of the Department of Medical Services of the Ministry of Public Health, that must also search, identify, treat, and do follow ups on past patients who had completed the programme.    

3. How is this legal framework implemented in practice Does any national policy concerning the deprivation of liberty of drug users exist in your country Does your Government apply a system of arrest quotas? With a view to the principle of proportionality, are alternatives to detention foreseen What measures are taken for the rehabilitation of drug users deprived of their liberty?

a) Although drug usage is considered an offence in Thailand, the Government has implemented alternative measures to encourage drug users to enter the rehabilitation programme without having to be imprisoned or detained in the framework of the Narcotic Addict Rehabilitation Act as stated in the response to questions #1 and #2.

b) Thailand has never applied a system of arrest quotas to both drug dealer and drug user. Arrests of drug dealers and drug users will be carried out in accordance with the rule of law as the result of in-depth investigations by officers and thorough assessment of information from different sources such as complaints, intelligence and warrant for searches. The examination for drug use is done scientifically such as the urine examination which is a method used in most countries around the world. 

 

4. We would also be grateful about any statistics that can be provided on the number of arrests carried out; on the frequency and length of pre-trial detention; on criminal prison sentences handed down; on the number of administrative detainees and patients admitted to detoxification or similar facilities; the percentage of drug users in the overall prison and detention population; the percentage of female and juvenile drug users in detention, etc. Table 1: The amount of drug user/drug addict entering the rehabilitation process in different systems

 

Cumulative Performance

 

 

System

Fiscal Year 2006 (1 Oct. 05  30 Sept. 06)

Fiscal Year 2007 (1 Oct. 06  30 Sept. 07)

Fiscal Year 2008 (1 Oct. 07  30 Sept. 08)

Fiscal Year 2009 (1 Oct. 08  30 June 09)

Voluntary

14,841

15,782

23,157

15,740

Compulsory

33,031

37,676

55,933

39,287

Correction

7,525

7,130

10,909

7,338

TOTAL

55,367

60,588

89,999

62,366

 

 

Source: Bureau of Health Service System Development, Department of Health Service Support, Ministry of Public Health

Table 2: Numbers and Percentage of Juvenile Cases Handled by All Juvenile Observation and Protection Centres in 2008

Offense Category

Percentage

Assets

26.94

Life and body

14.18

Sexuality

4.08

Against public order, liberty, reputation and public administration

6.36

Drug Abuse

23.85

Arms and Explosives

6.92

Others

17.67

Total

100

 

 

Source: Office of Juvenile Justice System Development, Department of Juvenile Observation and Protection, Ministry of Justice

Table 3: Number and Percentage of Juvenile in Narcotic Cases Handle by All Juvenile Observation and Protection Centres in 2008, Classified by Drug Category

Drug Category

Number

Percentage

Total

11,207

100

Marijuana

1,282

12.91

Mitragyna speciosa

1

11.44

Opium

 18

0.01

Heroine

1,506

0.16

Volatile substance

6,549

13.44

Amphetamine

15

58.44

Methylenddioxymeth             amphetamine (Ecstasy)

3

0.13

Cocaine

19

0.03

Valium

 3

0.17

Morphine

7

0.03

Cough-syrup

1

0.06

Other chemicals

276

0.01

Glue

80

2.46

Others

 

0.71

 

Source: Office of Juvenile Justice System Development, Department of Juvenile Observation and Protection, Ministry of Justice


 

5. Do separate detention facilities exist in your country for the detention of drug users Is a specific regime applied?

As stated in the response to question#2, the Department of Probation has 123 facilities to conduct examination procedures to identify drug users/addicts.  Of the 123 facilities, 80 facilities are for adults, and 30 facilities are for juveniles (under the age of 18), which are under the responsibility of the Department of Juvenile Observation and Protection.   

In addition, Article 23 of the Narcotic Addict Rehabilitation Act (2002) stipulates that the rehabilitation of drug users and drug addicts shall be done in locations assigned by the Sub-Committee for the Rehabilitation of Drug Addict and the rehabilitation process shall be done at rehabilitation centres approved by the Department of Probation.  Such rehabilitation centres are divided into 2 main categories which are (1) Strict-Detention and Detention centres for drug addicts, and (2) No restriction centers for drug users/addicts.

 

6. How does your Excellencys Government reconcile obligations undertaken under the main international drug conventions with applicable international human rights standards and principles related to deprivation of liberty (we refer, in particular to the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (1961), as amended by the 1972 Protocol; the Convention on Psychotropic Substances (1971); and the Convention Against the Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (1988))

Thailand is a party to the Single Convention of Narcotic Drugs 1961 and its 1972 protocol, the Convention of Psychotropic Substances 1971 and the United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances 1988 and also a party to 7 core human rights instruments including the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT). The Royal Thai Government undertakes faithfully its obligations under the main international drug conventions and in consistent with  international human rights standards and principles related to deprivation of liberty through enabling legislations as well as rules and regulations. 

For Thailand, drug users or drug addicts are recognized by law as patients who need treatment as opposed to criminals, therefore giving them grounds for rehabilitation and increasing their chance to be re-integrated into society.  In addition, the Thai Government has improved drug-related laws in many aspects, particularly the punishment section which is more lenient to drug users or addicts as appeared in the fifth amendment of the Narcotic Act mentioned above.   

Under the Thai Criminal Code, the rights of the alleged offenders in drugs-related crime are the same as those charged for other criminal cases i.e. the rights to testify, rights to legal assistance and rights to lawyers observation during the interogation, etc.  During the investigation of a suspect, there shall not be any threat, deception, torture, or the use of force to influence his or her testimony.  The alleged offenders on drug-related charges have the rights to appeal the case in the legal process.

Moreover, to prevent officials from abusing their power, the Thai Government has established severe penalties for officials who get involve with drugs or violate the drug laws, such as receiving bribes from drug dealers, use power to defame innocent victims as suspects, use force on drug users or drug addicts that result to injuries or death or coercion for confession.

On juvenile delinquency related to drug offences, the Department of Juvenile Observation and Protection has established a system of procedures according to the United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty under Section H Article 54 on Medical Services and has equipped the detention centres with trained personnel specialized in child rehabilitation.

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