The Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation on Monday revealed that the construction of a new detention centre is being planned for next year in Kandal province to house inmates under 18.
During a meeting on Monday with Pauline Tamesis, UN country representative in Cambodia, Social Affairs Minister Vong Sauth said that the juvenile detention centre will be ready in 2019.
Mr Sauth added that education and rehabilitation will be provided at the centre in order to reduce criminality in the country.
Toch Channy, spokesman for the ministry, said yesterday that the building of the correctional facility on two hectares of land in Kandal Stung district is still under consideration, while stressing the importance of re-education.
“We are planning for construction to commence in 2019,” Mr Channy said. “We have to have a correctional centre just for juveniles so that minors can be re-educated and corrected.”
He added that there are currently about 1,400 minors in prisons across the country and that the new facility will also serve to reduce overcrowding in the prison system.
“We will work on it as fast as possible because we want to separate minorities from adult prisoners because the prisons are crowded,” Mr Channy said, noting that the plan has been discussed with the Interior Ministry.
Am Sam Ath, a senior coordinator with rights group Licadho, said that the move could promote the rights of minors who have broken the law.
“It’s good that the government has a plan to reduce the number of minors in prison by building a new centre for them,” Mr Sam Ath said. “Currently, minors don’t have the protection they need and they face the same treatment as other prisoners. They should receive vocational training, too.”