Community service takes hold, ministry says

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Community service takes hold, ministry says

25,000 registered last year to avoid fines

More than 25,000 offenders chose to perform community service instead of a fine last year, according to the Probation Department.

A total of 25,732 offenders, most of them convicted of drug, gambling and traffic offenses, opted for the community service option.

According to Witthawan Sunthornkajit, general manager of the department, the time they devoted to community service amounted to 645,723 days, or about 322.8 million baht if a value was attributed to the work.

He said community service provides offenders, who cannot afford to pay a fine, the opportunity to resolve their sentences. It also helps instill a sense of social responsibility.

Mr Witthawan said some offenders in community service were put to work fixing wheelchairs and old bicycles as part of a charity project based in Uthai Thani. Once repaired, wheelchairs were offered to disabled people and bicycles to disadvantaged people and children in rural areas.

The wheelchairs and used bicycles were donated by the public to the Uthai Thani Probation Office.

Maneerung Thanachaikhan, a provincial probation officer, said the repaired wheelchairs and bicycles were handed over to Uthai Thai as well as neighboring Nakhon Swan and Chai Nat provinces.

Choke (last name withheld), 44, said he ended up in court after failing a breathalyzer test. A welder by training, he participated in the project in Uthai Thani.

The court ordered him to pay a fine of 14,000 baht, which he could not afford. He chose to do community work for 28 days instead, and has so far worked for five days.


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