Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq laid on Monday the cornerstone for a new building in Roumieh prison as part of his reform program to address many of the problems that Lebanon’s prisons face.
“There are at least 7,800 inmates in Lebanon but prisons have the ability to house only 2,500,” he said in a speech ahead of the ceremony at the country's biggest prison.
He lamented that 62 percent of prisoners are still awaiting trial.
Praising the Lebanese army and Internal Security Forces on combating terrorism, al-Mashnouq hoped to confront terror inside prisons as well.
The building that will be constructed is aimed at housing dangerous prisoners, who operate freely in the overcrowded facility.
But the minister said that the new building “is just a modest trust to resolve the crisis of prisons” in Lebanon, which he described as a “ticking time bomb.”
The building needs 18 months to be completed. It can house around 260 inmates.
Other than being overcrowded, many prisons house inmates who suffer from dangerous illnesses with no major health care.
Al-Mashnouq plans to address the issue, in addition to creating social and educational rehabilitation.
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