A Childhood Behind Bars

rsz_64390_489216914466915_1197115571_nThe Community Research and Consultancy Program (CRCP) is conducting new research about the experiences of children who have been incarcerated in adult prisons in Cambodia, who have participated in TLC’s This Life Beyond Bars (TLBB) Program. The aim of the study is to develop a more thorough understanding of children’s experience prior to entering prison, during their stay in prison, and after their release. This research will also provide a more in-depth understanding of their experience of involvement in the AusAID funded TLBB program and how this has influenced their life, as we believe developing a deeper understanding of the experiences of participants is needed to support the programs development and growth.

The CRCP team are conducting interviews with up to 10 boys who have recently been released from prison. These boys are sharing their stories of life before prison, whilst in prison, and after their release. We hope that their stories can be used as an advocacy tool, by building on current research highlighting breaches of legal and human rights against children and young adults in prisons in Cambodia. We also hope that by offering these children a platform to share their stories that we will help other children in conflict with the law and in prison. 

Shelley, TLC’s Community Research, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, hopes for “research findings to generate new knowledge that can be translated into action for social change that will influence the lives of other young men”. The team are using rigorous qualitative methods, including in-depth interviews to collect and document these stories. Pisseth, CRCP Coordinator, says that “the strength of the CRCP team is the breadth of research skills, as well as our local expertise”. Shelley adds that “strengths of this research are that it has emerged from local program initiatives and that the process of involvement in the research is already benefiting the young men who have participated in interviews”. According to Shelley, “so far all of the young men have really valued and appreciated the opportunity to talk about their experience and share their story, many of them for the first time”.

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