Analysis Opinion

Thailand: the overcriminalization of meth, a failed moral crusade

Pascal Tanguay is an independent consultant who has lived in Thailand for the past 17 years. Here, Pascal discusses the overcriminalization of meth-related crimes in Thailand and its consequences.

ICPR and Prison Insider asked several experts worldwide to share their insights in the framework of the project Understanding and reducing the use of imprisonment in 10 countries. Read Pascal Tanguay’s insights.

In the global context, Thailand is a major outlier: the Global Commission on Drug Policies singled out Thailand

Thai sentencers potentially support and accelerate politically driven moral crusades

The Thai criminal justice system has struggled to distinguish between recreational users, drug dependents, petty dealers and organized crime

The political impetus behind the war on drugs has clearly influenced Thai sentencing.

It is high time that Thailand stops its failed moral crusade

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Pascal Tanguay

Independent consultant

Pascal Tanguay is an independent consultant who has lived in Thailand for the past 17 years. From 2011 to 2015, Pascal directed the national response to prevent HIV among people who inject drugs in Thailand. He was then deputy director of the Law Enforcement and HIV Network. He continues to support civil society organizations, governments and United Nations agencies towards evidence-informed, human rights-based approaches to drugs across Asia.

About the project

Understanding and reducing the use of imprisonment in ten countries

This comparative research and policy project is led by the Institute for Crime & Justice Policy Research (ICPR), based at Birkbeck, University of London. To understand the causes and consequences of over-incarceration worldwide, ICPR has worked with a large network of NGOs, academic researchers and practitioners spanning this diverse selection of countries. ICPR partnered with Prison Insider in the latter stages of the project to shed light on aspects of prisoners’ lived experience in custody before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The project team collaborated to gather national experts’ insights, and to facilitate a continuing global conversation around the key research findings.
The project focuses on five main themes that can be found in the drop-down menu.
This content is the sole responsibility of ICPR.

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