The Ministry of Interior fired the much-criticized director of Phnom Penh’s prison for women and juveniles because of incompetence and nepotism, a prison official said Wednesday.
Nhoern Nhorm, who was dismissed as head of Prey Sar Correctional Center II for women and juveniles, had been working for the prison since the 1980s. He will be replaced by Norng Kabora, another prison official.
“The reason he was withdrawn from the position is because five prisoners had escaped from the prison in the past two weeks—he had made some big mistakes,” said a Prey Sar police official who declined to be identified. “The people who worked at Prey Sar had no confidence in him.”
The prison police official on Wednesday also said difficulties arose between co-workers because Nhoern Nhorm allegedly employed many of his relatives.
On Wednesday, Prey Sar officials held a ceremony to transfer the directorship Norng Kabora.
“We are glad that the appropriate action has been taken,” said Naly Pilorge, director of the human rights group Licadho. On May 31, Licadho released a scathing report on the conditions of children in prisons.
The report stated that children living with their convicted mothers are often abused by other inmates and do not get enough food or medicine, which is mandated by international and national laws.
“Incarcerated or detained pregnant women, mothers and their children are routinely denied access to…education and basic human rights,” states the report.
In one instance, Licadho officials found that women in Battambang, Pursat and CCII prisons were all concerned that they had little access to clean drinking water.
An estimated 275 women and children are residing in Prey Sar CCII prison, according to estimates gathered earlier this year.
(Additional reporting by David Kihara)