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Test Yourself: Sister act

12 Sep 2017 | 186 View

Test Yourself: Sister act

Test Yourself is where you can improve your reading skills. Whether it’s for tests like University Entrance Exams or IELTS and TOEFL, or even just for fun, these pages help you to read, understand and improve your English.

Read the following story by Melalin Mahavongtrakul. Then, answer the questions that follow.

Around the world, there are more than 500,000 women and girls in prison. This represents less than a 10th of the overall prison population. Unfortunately, being in the minority of offenders means that their needs are often overlooked.


Various organisations have long been working together to promote gender-sensitive treatment of prisoners. And since 2010, the UN General Assembly have introduced the Bangkok Rules, a set of standards and guidelines to protect the rights of female inmates globally.

The Bangkok Rules — or the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders — are a set of 70 rules that act as a code of conduct with regards to the treatment of women prisoners. They cover areas such as prisoner admission and search procedures, healthcare and treatment. They also extend to any children who accompany their mothers into custody.

The guidelines are known as the Bangkok Rules because they were initiated by the Thai government, with HRH Princess Bajrakitiyabha playing a vital role in their development.


Since 2015, six prisons across Thailand have adopted the rules. They hope to reduce female prisoner numbers and stop the vicious cycle that leads women back to crime and jail.

“Some people initially thought that it wouldn’t work. They thought it might make the inmates our bosses. But after we began implementing the rules, we started to realise that it brings a more systematic approach to our work. So it benefits the staff too,” said Nathee Chitsawang, an official of Thailand Institute of Justice.


Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Provincial Prison has become a model for other facilities across the country in terms of how it recognises the rights of prisoners.

It currently houses about 560 inmates within its female section. The sleeping quarters hold about 40 inmates per room, all of whom sleep on the floor. Each room has windows, fans, a TV and a toilet. At night, the TV is turned on for about two hours to show soap operas. The prisoners are not allowed to watch the news.

Outside, there is a shop where prisoners can buy items such as toiletries, sanitary pads, bras, drinks and snacks. Their daily budget is 300 baht. The money typically comes from their families, who can’t give more than 9,000 baht per month.


One of the most significant new features is the occupational workshops. These include lessons on cooking, bakery, beauty, handicrafts and more. There is also a class that teaches prisoners about setting up their own small enterprises.

“Many used to live idle, aimless lives. But now, because they have goals, they’re much more enthusiastic,” said Apiradee Chantorn, deputy director of the female section.

“They want to improve themselves by attending lessons. Many plan to start a business of their own when they go out. They are more hopeful and they want to change, too. We’ve been seeing fewer people coming back.”


Read through the story and answer the following multiple-choice questions.

1. What is the article about?

a. Prisoners in Thailand.
b. The treatment and rights of female prisoners.
c. Prisoners starting their own businesses.

2. Women prisoners represent approximately what percentage of the global total?

a. 1 percent.
b. 10 percent.
c. 100 percent.

3. Which of the following is the main purpose of the Bangkok Rules?

a. To provide fair treatment for female inmates.
b. To protect child inmates.
c. To provide stricter rules for female inmates.

4. Why are they called the “Bangkok Rules”?

a. They were first implemented in Bangkok.
b. They were based on a model established by a Bangkok prison.
c. They were initiated by the Thai government.

5. Which of the following is a possible benefit of the Bangkok Rules?

a. The number of female inmates might be reduced.
b. Female inmates are given more purpose in life.
c. Both a and b are correct.

6. Why are inmates not allowed to watch the news?

a. It makes them lazy.
b. It makes them more likely to reoffend.
c. The article doesn’t say.

7. Which of the following statements is NOT true, according to the article?

a. Prisoners at the Ayutthaya prison must spend a minimum of 300 baht a day.
b. Apiradee Chantorn is deputy director of the Ayutthaya prison’s female section.
c. The Bangkok Rules were adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2010.


Match each of the following words used in the story with the correct definitions from the choices given.

8. facilities


9. accompany


10. approach


11. custody


12. conduct


13. vital



Read the following passage. Then, fill in the blanks with the correct words from the choices given.

…..14….. the introduction and implementation of the Bangkok Rules, the change was quite …..15….. for both staff members and inmates. “Before, I think we were just making sure each day that no one caused trouble. But ……16……the rules were introduced, we’ve been much more …..17….. We can do more for …..18….. prisoners now. There are always activities going …..19…..,” an official said.


a. Following                
b. Follow                  
c. Followed


a. pronounce            
b. pronounced       
c. pronouncing


a. since                         
b. when                     
c. now


a. actively                   
b. action                   
c. active


a. our                           
b. ours                        
c. us


a. in                              
b. off                           
c. on


Specify whether each of the following words is used in the article as a verb, noun, adjective or adverb.

20. initiated


21. vicious


22. currently


23. healthcare


24. leads



Section 1

1. b.
2. b.
3. a.
4. c.
5. c.
6. c.
7. a.

Section 2

8. c.
9. f.
10. b.
11. a.
12. d.
13. e.

Section 3

14. a.
15. b.
16. a.
17. c.
18. a.
19. c.

Section 4

20. Verb.
21. Adjective.
22. Adverb.
23. Noun.
24. Verb.


21-24: Excellent!
17-20: Good.
13-16: Fair.
12 or fewer: You'll do better next time!