The first phase of the construction of Palau’s new national correctional facility is 72% complete, according to report from the Minister of Public Infrastructure, Industries and Commerce Charles Obichang this week.
“Site preparation, access road, landscaping and fencing are nearly done,” reported Obichang. The new facility will include two separate facilities, one for general prison population and another for women and juveniles, separated from general population by a fence and two watch towers.
After the 1st phase is completed, the construction of facilities will commence which is the 2nd phase of the project.
The new facility is sorely needed with growing prison population and limited facility at Koror jail.
Division of Corrections under the Ministry of Justice has been under fire in the past few years due to conditions within the facility. Limited space, overcrowding, and poor construction have resulted in difficult conditions for both inmates and management of the corrections facility.
Court had, in recent years, ruled solitary confinement conditions at Koror jail to be “cruel, inhumane or degrading”.
The current jail facility was built to accommodate around 60 people but currently it houses around 90 people, creating tense and unsafe atmosphere.
In addition, the adjoining building used for administration was condemned and declared unsafe prompting the administration to relocate to part of the Civic Center building.
The new national correctional facility is expected relieve and resolve some of these outstanding issues the Ministry of Justice has been grappling with for decades. (L.N. Reklai)