Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Jail alternative possible



Jail alternative possible

Justice Ministry spokesman Chin Malin speaks to the press on Friday.
Justice Ministry spokesman Chin Malin speaks to the press on Friday. Facebook

Jail alternative possible

A Ministry of Justice official appeared to revive the possibility of an alternative sentencing program that would reduce overcrowding in prisons by assigning small-time offenders to community service.

Ministry of Justice spokesman Chin Malin, who spoke to reporters briefly after a closed-door meeting with the UN’s interim human rights representative Simon Walker on Friday, said the ministry needs time to study the concept further.

“We don’t want to put [offenders] in jail, which would be a waste of the skills and knowledge they have and make the prison crowded,” Malin said.

In a message yesterday, Walker directed questions about the program to the ministry.

UN Special Rapporteur Rhona Smith first pitched the idea during her fact-finding mission in August, to praise from civil society organisations.

The Ministry of Justice proposed a pilot in Battambang province but backtracked after a senior Justice Ministry official challenged the idea in September due to concerns that the public would assume suspects had been released due to corruption and take matters into their own hands.

Malin confirmed yesterday that the ministry is still open to the idea, but only for convicted offenders, not those in pre-trial detention.

“They are not freed,” Malin said. “They are still under the surveillance of the authority of the court.”

Nuth Savna, deputy chief of the General Department of Prisons, said he would welcome the pilot project and that it would help reduce prison overcrowding. Cambodia currently has about 30,000 prisoners and detainees, according to Savna.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Ministry mulls ASEAN+3 travel bubble

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to launch a travel bubble allowing transit between Cambodia and 12 other regional countries in a bid to resuscitate the tourism sector amid crushing impact of the ongoing spread of Covid-19, Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak told The Post on

  • Courts’ decisions now published as reference source

    The Ministry of Justice has published 44 verdicts from civil litigation cases which can be used as models for court precedents and for study by the public and those who work in pertinent fields. Publication of the verdicts on December 31 came as the result of joint

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • Quarantine site in north Phnom Penh inaugurated

    A four-building quarantine centre in Phnom Penh’s Prek Pnov district was formally inaugurated on January 6. The centre can house up to 500 people, according to Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng. At the inauguration ceremony, Sreng said the municipal hall had cooperated with the Ministry

  • China firm to develop Mondulkiri airport

    Tourism to the Kingdom’s northeast corridor could experience a remarkable metamorphosis after the government decided in principle of a Chinese company to study and develop a proposal to build a regional-level airport in Mondulkiri province, according to industry insiders. The Council of Ministers said