This Life Beyond Bars – Expanding to Banteay Mancheay

After an extremely successful first year, This Life Cambodia is proud to announce that we have been guaranteed a second AusAid grant to expand our This Life Beyond Bars program.

With rather coincidental timing, the Phnom Penh Post (PPP) recently reported an article about widespread corruption in the Cambodia prison system. Of course, corruption within this system is not new news, rather it has been something many have been battling to counter for many years.

Chan Soveth, senior investigator for The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (Adhoc) which monitors 22 prisons nationwide in all provinces, told the PPP that most of the 42 former inmates interviewed by Adhoc this year said they had had to pay guards to obtain food and medicine and to receive visits from their relatives.

TLBB is one such program that strives to break through the barriers of corruption and support not only minors in prison, but also families with a parent in jail.

The cost of visiting a family member is simply too much for many families, already struggling with the burden of one less parent. Transport alone can be a cost to big to bear, and when combined with the need to bribe guards, many families are unable to visit their loved ones in jail.

So why is this visitation so important? For families with a parent in jail it maintains family connections and provides some stability to children whose parent is in jail. For minors in prison it helps to maintain an emotional connection with family, helping their reintegration in to their community on their release.

TLBB is now able to expand our program. Now, this program will operate in both Siem Reap Prison and Banteay Mancheay Prison. An additional 60 minors will have the opportunity to undertake vocational training throughout the life of the program, providing them with tangible skills to be used upon release. An additional 30 families will be supported to visit their loved one in prison and to develop income generation strategies to help ease their financial burdens. More communities will be reached to raise awareness on human rights issues. TLC will work with commune councils and other sub-national mechanisms to help build their knowledge of issues relating to social justice. TLC will work with them to build their capacity to work with their communities to address these issues.

The TLBB program will bring together individuals, families, communities and existing sub-national mechanisms to create awareness, knowledge and the capability to work together to take sustainable action on issues relating to the criminal justice system.

Without the generous support of TLC’s donors AusAID, Aussies for Orphans and Humaneity, this work would not be possible.

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