Prison Chiefs Shuffled; PJ Prison to Relocate

The Interior Ministry on Thursday reassigned the directors of three of the country’s prisons during a ceremony at Phnom Penh City Hall, where it was also announced that the city’s minimum-security PJ Prison would itself be relocated.

Nuth Sam An, a secretary of state at the ministry, presided over the ceremony to move the chiefs of PJ Prison, Correctional Center 3 (CC3) in Tbong Khmum province, and the Oddar Meanchey Provincial Prison to positions at the ministry, and said there was no particular reason for the shakeup.

“It is normal that when a prison director works for four years, there should be a new director to reform [the prison],” Mr. Sam An said.

Kea Sovanna, the head of CC3, will be made deputy director of the ministry’s cooperation department, and will be replaced by Oddar Meanchey prison chief Phin Yan, it was announced. PJ Prison head Hou Puthvisal will become deputy director of the ministry’s department of corrections, and will be replaced by Pich Yun, a deputy director at the ministry’s transportation department.

Nuth Savna, a spokesman for the general department of prisons, said by telephone that the reshuffle was designed to reinvigorate the country’s notoriously overcrowded and corrupt prison system.

“The new directors, they could have new ideas, new energy to develop [the prisons],” he said.

Mr. Savna rejected the notion that the prison chiefs had been replaced for any indiscretions.

“They made no mistakes. People who make mistakes are removed,” he said.

Also at the ceremony, Mr. Sam An said that PJ Prison — which inmates say is for those who can afford to pay for a more comfortable incarceration and is typically listed as the only prison in the country running under capacity — needed to be relocated because it was overcrowded.

City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche said PJ would be moved from its current site in Phnom Penh’s northern Russei Keo district to Dangkao district’s Proteah Lang commune in the west

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