The Interior Ministry’s General Department of Prisons on Monday appointed Thean Chhorvoan as the new Banteay Meanchey provincial prison chief more than five months after his predecessor was charged with accepting bribes in return for allowing an inmate to escape.
Disgraced former provincial prison chief Nuon Vanna is currently detained in Siem Reap Provincial Prison waiting to be tried for bribery charges brought against him in December.
Mr Chhorvoan, former deputy provincial prison chief, was appointed during a ceremony at a provincial government building to lead one of the most overcrowded prisons in the country, said GDP general-director Kuy Bunsorn.
“We also disseminated information about anti-corruption laws to the prison chief and guards so they understand about prosecution and will not repeat the same mistakes,” Mr Bunsorn said.
Mr Chhorvoan was instructed to grant adequate exercise time to more than 1,100 inmates in the prison, which operates at about double its official capacity, he added. He said by phone yesterday that he would transform the prison from solely a place of detention into an institution that also provides agricultural training and rehabilitation.
“In particular, I will help educate prison guards and other prison officials to behave properly and gently toward prisoners,” he said, noting that he recently put three boxes in prison cells so that complaints could be submitted and resolved. “Inmates being held here will have the freedom to speak out about their needs.”
Two of 86 prison guards and officials currently working at the prison will attend a three-month intensive training course starting later this month at Phnom Penh’s Police Academy of Cambodia, he added.
Mr Bunsorn said that last month, 50 prison guards nationwide completed the first three-month training course of its kind in Cambodia. Senior police and lecturers at the Police Academy of Cambodia taught guards about the UN’s minimum rules for treatment of prisoners, a code of ethics and martial arts, he said. Fifty more guards will attend the course that begins June 21, he added.