Department of Juvenile Observation and Protection
Department of Juvenile Observation and Protection
Ministry of Justice of Thailand
| In the past, Thailand had Criminal Law Code (R.S.127, King Rama V) to treat children who committed an offence. Regarding the law, the Court can only consider child repenting of his wrong doing and the circumstance of his offence, to adjudicate him the punishment. In 1970, a Reformatory School was established on Sri-chung Island, Sriracha District, Chonburi Province under the supervision of Police Department. The school was for those juvenile offenders aged between 10 and 16 years and it aimed to improve juvenile behaviour and provide rehabilitation. The Reformatory School had been later transferred to be under the supervision of Correction Department.
In 1935, the Elementary Education Act of B.E. 2478 (1935) was established. One of the Act’s articles authorized the Court being able to order children under the compulsary age (age not over 15 years) who are not in elementary schools with no reasonable causes - to be trained in vocational training schools. Later the Correction Act B.E. 2479 (1936) and the Discipline and Training of Certain Children Act B.E. 2479 (1936) were enacted, it provided articles giving quidances on how to take care of juvenile offenders focusing mainly on non-punishment measures: using training programs. Consequently, Correction Department had established Vocational Training School for juvenile offenders age below 18 years and separated those young offenders who committed his/her first offence when age less than 25 years. The Reformatory School was renamed the Vocational Training School and moved from Srichang Island to Kohyai Sub-district, Bangsai District, Phra Nakorn Sri Ayudhaya Province. Young offenders who age not over 25 years when committed an offence, were sent to a Young Prison. Department of Correction later transferred the Vocational Training School to be under the supervision of Department of Public Welfare in accordance with Discipline and Training of Certain Children Act B.E. 2501 (Version II). The Department of Public Welfare then placed all juvenile offenders in Ban-pong Juvenile Facility in Rayong Province. However, the Young Prison was still under the supervision of Correction Department.
Child and Student Control Act B.E. 2481 (1938) enacted Ministry of Education and Ministry of Interior to deal with student and impoverished children who misbehaved, to have a power to withdraw the parental power of child’s parents or guardians who did a wrongful act partly of wholly, and then appoint an officer from Ministry of Education to be the child’s guardian. Student superintendants had a duty to monitor behaviour of student in Bangkok area. Department of Public Welfare established shelters for children such as Babies’ Home, National Public Welfare School, Public Welfare School, Piboonsongkram College, Toonmahamek Juvenile Facility and Banglamoong Juvenile Facility which located in Chonburi Province.
Thai government has recognized the importance of juvenile defendants and also the problems and weakness of concerned legislations. The existed legislations provided only guidances on how to treat juvenile defendants after the Court ordered. However, it did not have any laws providing practices for alleged juveniles during trial and investigation processes. As a result, alleged juveniles were treated as same as alleged adults, it was inappropriate practices considering their younger ages. It also could be a negative influence on the juvenile’s behaviour. Act on Establishment of Juvenile Court B.E. 2494 (1951) and Juvenile procedure Act B.E. 2494 (1951) were enacted, Ministry of Justice then established Juvenile Central Court and Central Child Observation and Protection Centre. The Court and the Centre were in operation on 28 January 1952 and had its temporary office at Phra Nakorn Tai District Court (Original one), Tarad -noi District, Sumpunthawong District, Phra Nakorn Province. The contract of a permanent office construction located in Rachinee Road was signed on 30 June 1952, the construction budget was 1,370,000 Baht with 300 days construction duration.
Juvenile Court and Child Observation and Protection Centre opened on 28 January 1952, it was the first time that juvenile treatment and rehabilitation were appropriately established and implemented. The juvenile cases were tried separately from adult offenders’ justice system processes. The law specified a case investigation and facts’ finding - character, mentality, environment and crime motives – to report to the Court considering an appropriate solution and treatment for each individual juvenile offender. The Ministry of Justice proposed to amend the Act on Establishment of Juvenile Court B.E. 2494 (1951) and Juvenile procedure Act B.E. 2494 (1951), the second amended issue B.E. 2506 (1963) of the Acts were came into force on 1 January B.E. 2507 (1964).
The government also recognized the importance of family institution in term of child problem resolutions, Act for Establishment of and Procedure for Juvenile and Family Court B.E. 2534 (1991) was enacted and came into force on 22 January B.E. 2535 (1992) to protect family’s rights and child’s rights. The law added articles given the power in adjudicating cases by following the international idea is that families are an important foundation of community. Maintaining a family life means that every family member maintains his/her stable life. Significantly, family problems affect each family member life and mentality. The Juvenile Court and Child Observation and Protection Centre were renamed “the Juvenile and Family Court” and “the Juvenile Observation and Protection Centre” according to the law.
The Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand B.E. 2540 (1997)’s article 275 imposed the Court of Justice to have its own independent administrative unit, the Court of Justice Administration Act B.E. 2543 (2000) was enacted accordingly. According to the later law, the responsibility for the Juvenile Observation and Protection Centre was transferred from the Family and Juvenile Court to the Ministry of Justice’s Office of Permanent Secretary. The Act on Organization of Ministries, Sub-Ministries and Departments B.E. 2545 (2002) was enacted, the government organizations were reformed in the same year. The Juvenile Observation and Protection Centre was appointed to be Juvenile Observation and Protection Department on 9 October B.E. 2545 (2002), the Department has authorities, responsibilities and its organization’s allocations in accordance with the Ministry of Justice’s rules.