The Irrawaddy

Prisons to Improve Nutrition for Inmates Across the Country

The entrance to Obo Prison.

MANDALAY — The Correctional Department, under the Ministry of Home Affairs, said it would increase daily nutrition for inmates across the country.

A department spokesperson explained that nutrition budgets were set by the state governments.

“Before, meat curries were served only two days a week. Now, it will be four. And bean soup was served five days a week, but it will now be available every day,” said U Min Tun Soe, the department spokesperson.

According to the department, an inmate previously received 600 kyat per day of food, while labor camp inmates received the equivalent of 625 kyat.

“After the increase, prison inmates will receive food equivalent to 975 kyat per day, and labor camp inmates will receives 1,000 kyat worth, as they receive additional rice,” he explained.

Although it is still a meager amount for the 90,000 inmates in 46 prison and 60 labor camps, it is an improvement, said U Min Tun Soe.

Poor nutrition in Myanmar prisons was criticized widely by rights groups for years.

Many inmates whose families can afford to send food depend on that, and share their goods with others.

According to the department, Insein central prison in Yangon Region, Obo central prison in Mandalay Region and Tharyarwaddy central prison in Bago Region have also recently been funded with 5,000,000 kyats each for medical needs.
The department is also building new prisons to ease overcrowding, said the department spokesperson.

“We’ve opened a prison in Mohnyin, with the capacity of 1,000 inmates. It will ease the crowding in Myitkyina’s prison,” he added.

The spokesperson said there would be two more prisons in Kyaikmayaw in Mon State and Daik-U in Bago Region, to be opened by the end of this year.

“In some prisons, the number of inmates outnumbers the suggested capacity. We will move these prisoners once new prisons open. This will ease overcrowding and make family visits more convenient,” he added.