Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ministry and Red Cross discuss new ‘early release from prison’ programmes

Ministry and Red Cross discuss new ‘early release from prison’ programmes

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A prison van transports inmates in Phnom Penh. Hean Rangsey

Ministry and Red Cross discuss new ‘early release from prison’ programmes

The Ministry of Justice is collaborating with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to address prison overcrowding and improve legal mechanisms for conditionally releasing inmates into the community.

The collaboration was announced at a meeting between ministry secretary of state Chin Malin and Dena Fisher, head of the ICRC mission to Cambodia, on February 1.

Malin told The Post that the ICRC had raised the issue of overcrowding in prisons and called for a solution to the problem. The two sides will work together to resolve the issue by laying out conditional release mechanisms to be implemented soon, as well as disseminating knowledge to the public.

“The ministry is preparing to put non-prison sentences – including community sentences and conditional release – into place. We will work with the IIRC to prepare these mechanisms to improve conditions in our prisons,” he said.

He added that raising public awareness of these new sentence conditions would be very important as people need to accept the new concepts.

“The traditional Cambodian point of view is that prisoners should be in prison. If they are out of prison, there could be problems. There may be violence or discrimination, and society may look down on these men and women.

“We are preparing to implement conditional release, and at the same time we are educating the public so that prisoners can be integrated back into society,” he said.

Malin added that although conditional release mechanisms had not yet been put in place, the ministry had worked hard to address prison overcrowding by clearing the backlog of court cases across the country.

“We have done a lot to address prison overcrowding by increasing resources at the courts to speed up proceedings,” he said.

Am Sam Ath, deputy director of rights group Licadho, said the collaboration would be a further step in helping implement and disseminate awareness of the programme. He urged that the process be begun as soon as possible and suggested that law enforcement officials ensure transparency in the release of prisoners to avoid public criticism.

“Once this mechanism is in place, we have to implement it in a transparent and fair manner before releasing prisoners conditionally,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro