Thursday, February 22, 2018

Class Justice

Cambodia's Interior Minister has suggested the construction of more luxurious pay-to-stay prison blocks for wealthy inmates.

He pointed to a privately built block for wealthy inmates at Phnom Penh's Prey Sar prison as a model. Sar Kheng announced the construction of the "hotel-like" prison block at Prey Sar last year, saying inmates could pay to use the facilities. These would be a far cry from typical Cambodian prison cells, where scores of inmates often share a single latrine and ailments such as nutritional deficiencies, diarrhoea and scabies are common.

Observers have raised concerns that allowing prisoners with disposable incomes to live more comfortable lives would make existing informal economic divides in the prison population official.  A 2015 prison report by rights group Licadho also found that cash flow already "dictated" life inside Cambodia's prisons, with inmates forced to pay bribes for everything from food, water and medical treatment to visits from loved ones.

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