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On arrival in Bangkok he was swindled out of half a million pounds. Martin didn't go home however, and began searching for the conman. When he eventually tracked him down a fight took place and a member of the gang was killed. Martin ended up being arrested for murder, denied a fair trial and spent 8 years in prison. Sign in. Hidden fields.

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Top charts. Add to Wishlist. After being swindled out of a fortune, Colin was let down by the hopelessly corrupt Thai police. Colin was arrested, denied a fair trial, convicted of murder and thrown into prison, where he remained for 8 years. Honest and often disturbing, but told with a surprising humour, Welcome to Hell is the remarkable story of how Colin was denied justice again and again.

They do not have visitors, which means they only get what prisons provide. The communal system allows them to have better food and commodities. There are occasional cases of prisoners being killed, which can result from disputes, but Rangsiman admitted he could not say for sure. Lives for female inmates are not much different, Pronthip said. The dormitory buildings house two or three times the prisoners they were designed for.

The women wake up, wash themselves, eat, and stand for the national anthem. Due to the regular raids, inmates cannot stock up on basic feminine products in their lockers, resulting in a shortage. Pronthip sometimes gave sanitary pads to her cell mates who had no visitors to offer them a monthly supply. Also, the poor waste management system means lots of used sanitary pads end up clogging toilet bowls and sewers.

Both Rangsiman and Pronthip agree that the main problem for foreign inmates is the language barrier. Guards cannot speak English or other languages, nor do they care. As a result, the foreigners cannot access certain provided materials and need help from fellow inmates to write a complaint, request medical treatment, etc. Another problem is their different physiques. The overpopulated dormitories allow little to no space to lay down. Pronthip said that Chinese inmates, for example, recieve Chinese newspapers as part of the contract with their embassy, and are usually bailed out by the embassy.


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Christian prisoners, many of whom are Africans, get frequent visits from missionaries, according to Rangsiman. While sex is prohibited, both Rangsiman and Pronthip have witnessed other inmates satisfying their basic human needs. If female inmates are caught having sex, Pronthip said that they will face public reprimand and discipline. Meanwhile, in the male prison, Rangsiman has involuntarily witnessed more heated acts than Pronthip. Hooking up is not uncommon either. The harsh conditions in prison are believed by many Thais to help keep people from becoming repeat offenders once they are released, even if the research proves otherwise.

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Thai prisons are no purgatories, just hell, according to Rangsiman. Dehumanizing the convicted cannot fix them, he added. They are just like us. I think Thai society is responsible for lots of the crimes they committed.

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Lots of criminals are from the lower socioeconomic class who struggle to have a better life, and they do not think of their actions as harmful — like this guy who found a lost check and cashed it. He was very sympathetic, always giving to other inmates. For Pronthip, Thai prison fails at reforming the wrongdoers. At all. There is no correction system to make them realize their wrongdoings. Prisons are just places where the convicted are thrown, with the hope that they will repent for their mistakes.

Lack of correctional process and various criminals locked together mean the prison becomes a criminal college where newbies learn skills and form a connection with the veterans. Rangsiman and Pronthip agree that ex-convicts are perceived badly and discriminated against in society. This means they face difficulty finding a job and getting back on their feet afterwards.

When society does not give them the chance to redeem themselves, they are forced to return to the criminal lifestyle, and the vicious cycle continues.

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    Welcome to Hell: One Man's Fight for Life Inside the Bangkok Hilton by Colin Martin

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