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May 31, 2016
New Prison for Wealthy on Way
A new detention center designed to house wealthy inmates will be constructed behind Prey Sar prison by the government in conjunction with private company Kunry Khon Holding, according to General Department of Prisons spokesman Nuth Savna yesterday. The agreement for the construction of Cambodia’s first “modern” prison was signed yesterday at the Ministry of Interior. According to Mr. Savna, the prison’s 1.5 hectare plot of land will now begin to be built on, but he could not give details as to how much the project will cost since Kunry Khon is responsible for its design. The new facilities will be equipped to ensure the safety, security and hygiene of any prisoner who can afford to serve his sentence there, Mr. Savna added, saying that those who are able to foot the bill will be allowed to move from the state-owned prison system to the private prison. “Despite it being privately owned, security is under the control of the prison department. It is not a prison for rich or the poor,” he said. “There is no discrimination of prisoners, but when some prisoners move to the new one, it could also reduce the numbers of inmates in the old prison.” Now there are about 4,400 prisoners in Prey Sar’s Correctional Center 1, which was designed to accommodate only 1,200. As a result, many prisoners have been moved to other prisons such as CC3 in Tbong Khmum and CC4 in Pursat province. The price of rooms in the new private prison has not yet been set, but will be overseen by the Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Logistics and Finance, Mr. Savna said, adding that drug rehabilitation and medical services will be available to those detained there. Kunry Khon Holding Company could not be reached for comment about the project yesterday. Prison facilities across Cambodia have been criticized for their treatment of prisoners, spartan accommodation, poor healthcare services and lack of water for daily usage are all cited as commonplace. Am Sam Ath, technical supervisor for rights group Licadho, which has monitored the Kingdom’s prison system, said construction of the new prison is not a black and white issue. “The prisoners who can afford to pay for this facility, they won’t even face any difficulty in the prison so how can they change their attitude?” Mr. Sam Ath asked. More important than plush new buildings is the education of existing prisoners so they can be reintegrated into society after their release, resulting in a slow decrease in country-wide crime rates, he added.