Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Slow process causes overcrowding’



‘Slow process causes overcrowding’

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Prisoners sit in the courtyard of Prey Sar prison. Vireak Mai

‘Slow process causes overcrowding’

On Tuesday, Minister of the Interior Sar Kheng said slow judicial procedures and an ongoing crackdown on drugs are causing an increase in inmates in Cambodian prisons, resulting in serious concerns over prisoner welfare.

His remarks were made at a workshop at Raffles Hotel Le Royal in Phnom Penh discussing the roles and duties of the National Committee Against Torture, as well as the enforcement of the international human rights standards.

Sar Kheng said that the number of inmates in Cambodian prisons has increased steadily in recent years, with no sign of abating.

Currently, 28 prisons across Cambodia house more than 30,000 inmates, while Phnom Penh’s Prey Sar currently holds 7,000 prisoners but is designed to hold only 2,000. In addition, there are 20,000 inmates in Cambodian prisons waiting to go through judicial procedures.

On top of slow judicial procedures, Sar Kheng cited Cambodia’s ongoing crackdown on drugs as a contributing factor in the increase of inmate numbers.

“These two big challenges are the main factors causing the prisons to be overcrowded, which hinders our efforts to improve their welfare and provide necessary services at prisons throughout the Kingdom,” he said.

“Moreover, it hinders the Royal Government’s efforts to fully enforce the UN Convention Against Torture.”

Sar Kheng said that to improve the welfare situation for inmates and comply with the UN Convention against Torture, the government is working to expand and improve facilities in the country’s prisons, while the Ministry of Interior is also considering mechanisms to speed up judicial procedures.

“The courts and government institutions will work together on this issue for the greater social good. We will examine the backlog of 20,000 inmates and see what is hindering judicial procedures,” he said.

Deputy director-general of the Interior Ministry’s General Prison Department Be Tea Leng said the prison department had restored old prisons to ease overcrowding, as well as having built eight buildings at Phnom Kravanh district’s Correctional Center 4 accommodating roughly 1,400 inmates. He added that his department was awaiting further funds to complete the construction of an additional eight buildings at Correctional Center 4.

“We’ve finished one phase, and we’re going to build another eight buildings . . . we will then take inmates from other overcrowded prisons,” he said.

On November 27, the Ministry established a working group to speed up judicial procedures in an attempt to address the overcrowding. The directive named Secretary of State at the Ministry of Interior Sork Setha as head of the task force.

Earlier in November, local NGO Licadho released a report detailing how the underuse of bail had resulted in excessively long periods of pre-trial detention and subsequent overcrowding, negatively impacting detainee’s families and communities.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen says Kingdom not a 'satellite country'

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said Cambodia had sent diplomatic notes to various embassies demonstrating its stance and clarifying allegations that the Kingdom is a satellite country of China which will allow it exclusive access to the Ream Naval Base in Preah Sihanouk province. The response

  • Vast Prince Manor fun park opens to much fanfare in Kandal

    Chinese-owned Prince Culture and Development Co Ltd officially launched the $85 million Prince Manor entertainment centre in Kandal province on Wednesday. Prince Manor is located along National Road 1, 20km from the centre of Phnom Penh. It is the first major theme park project in Cambodia and

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • Floods prompt evacuations in Kampong Speu

    Rain-induced floods and water flowing from Kampong Speu province have submerged the houses of 1,527 families living close to the Prek Thnot River in Spean Thma, Tien, Kong Noy and Roluos communes in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, according to data from local authorities. Spean Thma

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial