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Prisoners swap cells as Sihanouk facility opens

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Sihanoukville prisoners queue up to board a truck to get transferred to a new facility. Photo supplied

Prisoners swap cells as Sihanouk facility opens

The nearly 800 inmates of Preah Sihanouk Provincial Prison got a new home yesterday as they were transferred to a new facility constructed over the past 11 months, provincial prison chief Sam Sophal said yesterday.

Sophal said that the 792 prisoners were moved by military trucks to the new site in Muoy commune, which was completed late last month.

The plot, roughly 20 kilometres away from the old location, was procured by the government following a land swap with the Sombo Dara Company, which was granted control of the former prison site in return for constructing the new facility.

“The new Preah Sihanouk Provincial Prison is larger, with better safety, security and environment compared to the old one. Particularly, we created a skill centre for training the prisoners . . . so that they can use the skills to earn a living for themselves and their families after they leave,” he said, adding that the old prison had no such centre.

According to Sophal, the new prison is also more than three times the size of the old facility, at 3.6 hectares. Cambodia is currently in the midst of a prison overcrowding crisis, with many prisons operating at more than two times their capacity.

He added that the new provincial prison boasts an administration building for staff and prison guards, a workshop, a kitchen, and larger prison cells as well as gardens and open spaces for prisoners to exercise.

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