Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Government to address prison issues

Government to address prison issues

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Prisoners sit at Prey Sar prison. The notorious prison houses more than 6,000 inmates, an Interior Minister official said last year. Photo supplied

Government to address prison issues

Prime Minister Hun Sen will allow the ministries of Interior and Justice, and relevant institutions to convene with the aim of solving the problem of prison overcrowding.

Interior Minister Sar Kheng requested the meeting due to the rapid increase in convicted felons, according to Chin Malin, the Ministry of Justice spokesman.

The inter-ministerial gathering will be led by Sar Kheng, but its date and scope have not been decided.

The Kingdom’s prisons have become crowded since the government launched a two-phase campaign to crack down on drug-related crimes. The majority of prisoners are convicted for such crimes.

“We do not know yet how to do it until we have a meeting and discussion before we set mechanisms [into place] and [put them into] practice. Normally, at the end of a meeting, we reach solutions for confronting issues,” Malin said.

On Tuesday, Fresh News reported Malin as saying “according to Sar Kheng’s request, issued on November 8, Cambodia’s prisons are very crowded nationwide now.

“On September 30, there were 31,008 prisoners. Among them, 22,295 (71.9 per cent) were imprisoned under court procedures. There are prisoners who were detained without official court verdicts even after the court finished all the procedures.”

Sar Kheng reported to Hun Sen that these are challenging issues involved in controlling and managing the prison population and possibly to reduce punishments or pardon criminals, said Fresh News.

“Samdech Sar Kheng confirmed that in order to solve these challenges, as well as to provide peace, security and well-being for prisoners, especially to follow national and international standards, I asked for a policy from the prime minister.

“Please allow me to lead an inter-ministerial meeting, which will include the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Justice, Heads of Phnom Penh Municipal Court and provincial courts, prosecutors of Phnom Penh Municipal Court and provincial courts, aiming at reviewing and finding suitable solutions in pushing the courts to speed up the solving of criminal cases, so that trials can be [conducted] faster,” he added.

Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak could not be reached for comment on Monday.

Soeung Sen Karuna, the spokesman for human rights group Adhoc, said the institutions should have worked together to find ways to solve the issue of overcrowded prisons a long time ago without disturbing the prime minister.

He said overcrowding was a result of the rapid increase of drug addicts. “The authorities should check to see if prisoners can be released or not. Some people committed minor crimes or have no previous convictions. They should be serving the community [instead of being in jail]."

“Others have obeyed the rules and changed their behaviour. The authorities should think about that,” he added.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia-Thailand rail reconnected after 45 years

    A railway reconnecting Cambodia and Thailand was officially inaugurated on Monday following a 45-year hiatus, with the two kingdoms’ prime ministers in attendance at the ceremony. On the occasion, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha travelled together from Thailand’s

  • Thousands attend CNRP-organised pro-democracy vigil in South Korea

    Thousands of supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) on Saturday gathered in the South Korean city of Gwangju to hold a candlelight demonstration calling for the “liberation” of democracy in Cambodia. Yim Sinorn, a CNRP member in South Korea, said on

  • US Embassy: Chinese trade does not help like the West’s

    The US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Friday said relations between China and Cambodia did not create jobs or help industry when compared to the trade between the Kingdom and the US. “About 87 per cent of trade [with China] are Chinese imports, which do not

  • New airport study set for 2019

    A feasibility study on the construction of a new airport in the Kingdom will be launched later this year, according to a Ministry of Tourism spokesman on Monday. The plan was approved last week in a meeting held by the Ministry of Economy and Finance