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Crowding a problem in prisons, govt says

Crowding a problem in prisons, govt says

THE Kingdom needs new prisons to handle a growing inmate population, Interior Ministry officials said Wednesday.

The capacity of Cambodian prisons has already been exceeded by more than 5,000 people, Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said during the first day of the ministry’s annual conference.

“Prisons all over the country can house only 8,000 prisoners, but there are 13,325 prisoners in total in 2009,” Khieu Sopheak said.

Meanwhile, the inmate population is increasing at a rate of 7.6 percent each year, he said.

The trend has led authorities to plan for renovations in two facilities and the building of three new prisons.

Am Sam Ath, technical superviser for rights group Licadho, said he supported the move, but urged authorities to pay more attention to upgrading sanitation and providing adequate food and water.

A 2009 report from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights noted prisons in the Kingdom are “severely overcrowded”, and often lack access to water and basic sanitation.

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