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Covid-19 postpones expansion of prisons

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Inmates are driven to Prey Sar prison in Phnom Penh. Officials say the problem now is to address small spaces and improve prison standards for adequate air flow, water systems and sanitation. Heng Chivoan

Covid-19 postpones expansion of prisons

The Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Prisons (GDP) has decided to push back the expansion of prison infrastructure to next year citing Covid-19.

However, one exception is in Kampong Cham province, a prison that is already more than 80 per cent complete, GDP director-general Chan Kimseng said.

He told The Post on Tuesday that despite the general delay in expanding prison infrastructure, the project is moving forward.

“We are trying hard to construct a new prison in Kampong Cham this year because it is almost ready. The new prison in Kampong Cham province is needed because the existing prison is old and located in Tbong Khmum province, which is no longer part of Kampong Cham,” he said.

Kimseng said in terms of building more prison infrastructure, the problem right now is to address small spaces and improve prison standards to ensure comfort, adequate air flow, water systems and sanitation.

He said by moving the prison infrastructure project to the coming year, some new projects such as the expansion of 1.5ha of Phnom Penh’s Prey Sar prison will be postponed although the Phnom Penh Municipal Hall has already provided the land.

Another example is a new prison in Stung Treng province which will also be affected by the postponement.

“The government is still working on maintenance projects at seven prisons this year,” he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng presided over the GDP’s 2020 action plan meeting on Tuesday at the Ministry of Interior and said that attention is being paid to strengthening public administration and working more effectively.

He suggested that officials at the general departments use the time to improve quality and enhance the performance of their roles and responsibilities.

“Although we cannot fully implement the action plan, this plan is a roadmap for the coming year and for the challenges ahead. We hope to address it in the coming years and beyond,” he said.

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