THE Interior Ministry has approved the construction of a prison in Pailin province, a provincial official said Tuesday. Currently, officials must send prisoners to neighbouring Battambang.
“I don’t know when it will be built, but we are studying the construction,” said Meav Samai, deputy director of the Pailin provincial cabinet.
Meav Samai said the construction of the prison would make the processing of suspected criminals more efficient.
“It is very difficult for authorities to take the time to send suspects or perpetrators to the courts and prison in Battambang province,” he said. “We want our own prison because it’s easier for us than sending prisoners to Battambang, and it saves money as well.”
I don’t know when it will be built, but we are studying the construction.
He added that officials from the Interior Ministry’s prisons department in Phnom Penh had visited the proposed site of the facility earlier this month and approved it.
Heng Hak, the director general of the prisons department, confirmed on Tuesday that the new prison had been approved by the Interior Ministry, but he said the
plan also needs the approval of Prime Minister Hun Sen before construction can begin.
Pailin was carved out of Battambang after the defection of former Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary in 1996. In December 2008, King Norodom Sihanomi signed a Royal decree turning Pailin, Kep and Sihanoukville into provinces.
A provincial government official who asked to remain anonymous because he was not authorised to speak with a reporter said that the existing provincial criminal justice system operates poorly without a prison, and that provincial officials would need to recruit more staff to operate a new facility.
“We lack human resources and need to train more officers,” he said.
There are 25 prisons nationwide, Heng Hak said.