By Vitit Muntarbhorn / Bangkok Post

The issue of bail is critically important for Thailand and is especially relevant to the gap between the rich and the poor. It is also emblematic of the chasm between power derived from the coup d'etat and the aspirations of a democratic and just society.

A typical situation is that many accused persons who are poor are not able to afford the sum demanded for bail and land up in jail unjustly and unnecessarily, pending trial. This results in the paradox that it is the poor, not the rich who are in prison. It gives the impression that justice is for the rich and not the poor. It has become all the more sensitive today with the spread of multiple trials facing people who express themselves and or assemble allegedly in breach of national laws.

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Prisons in the country are overflowing. The country has the distinction of having the highest number of detainees in Asean (with an estimate of over 300,000 persons incarcerated). ... The country should target more non-custodial measures and a general reform of the criminal justice system, including in regard to excessive incarceration for drug-related offences. Progressively, this would help to ensure "human dignity", a synonym for human rights, as espoused by the Thai constitution.