Busan, South Korea – The city of Busan recently announced the formation of a site selection committee tasked with determining the relocation of the aging Busan Detention Center and Prison. However, the Gangseo-gu District, one of the leading candidates for the relocation, has expressed strong opposition to the city’s decision.
In response to the announcement, Gangseo-gu District Mayor Kim Hyeong-chan and the Gangseo-gu District Council held a press conference at the Busan City Council briefing room. They argued that the city’s unilateral formation of the site selection committee undermines both the local government and the residents of Gangseo-gu District.
Mayor Kim emphasized that the Ministry of Justice holds the ultimate decision-making authority for the relocation of correctional facilities. He urged the ministry to respect the opinions of local residents and conduct thorough consultations with the relevant local governments before making any decisions.
Mayor Kim criticized the city’s approach to forming the site selection committee as inappropriate and contrary to the Ministry of Justice’s principles, calling it a “rushed administration” that doesn’t sufficiently reflect the opinions of the residents.
Furthermore, Mayor Kim added that any further administrative procedures, including gathering public opinion and architectural consultations, cannot proceed without the cooperation and approval of Gangseo-gu District. “We will actively respond together with the residents, denying all actions related to the site selection committee and its formation,” he stated.
The city plans to finalize the candidate sites by August through the site selection committee, considering two options: relocating the facilities by region or integrating the detention center and prison before relocating.
The Busan Detention Center and Busan Prison, built in 1973 and 1977 respectively, have been criticized for their outdated conditions. Both facilities urgently need improvement in terms of safety and human rights of inmates. There have been previous attempts to find a solution for the relocation issue, but these proposals have been scrapped due to opposition from local residents.