Media Release: New partnership to improve services for young people in Phnom Penh’s CC2 prison

This Life Cambodia, International Committee of the Red Cross, and the General Department of Prisons sign Letter of Agreement to bring additional services to 14- 18 year olds incarcerated in Correctional Centre 2.

A new partnership between This Life Cambodia, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and the General Department of Prisons will see the development of programs for 14–18 year olds serving sentences in Phnom Penh’s Correctional Centre 2 (CC2).

As part of the partnership, This Life Cambodia will implement the Vocational Training component of the This Life Beyond Bars program to provide direct services to juveniles in prison nearing the end of their sentence, and facilitate their reintegration post-release.

This Life Cambodia Executive Director, Billy Gorter, said: “This Life Cambodia is honoured to be entering into this partnership with the Royal Government of Cambodia and the International Committee of the Red Cross, and we are confident that the positive approaches developed within this partnership will be able to be applied across Cambodia”.

This Life Cambodia’s Deputy Director Mr. Sen Se said: “We look forward to sharing the good practices that This Life Cambodia has developed over several years, and to working with the ICRC, the General Department of Prisons, and other development partners to support relevant government agencies to further develop programs for juveniles in prisons across Cambodia”.

To date, This Life Cambodia has provided services to 120 juveniles in Siem Reap and Banteay Meanchey Prisons through the This Life Beyond Bars Program. Services for incarcerated juveniles as young as 14 include vocational training, personal development, family visitation, reintegration support and individual case management.

“By supporting juveniles in prison to develop their existing strengths and abilities, we endeavor to promote sustainable change which, upon release, reduces the likelihood of recidivism and benefits the community at large”, said Billy Gorter.

The recidivism (or reoffending) rate of students who complete the This Life Beyond Bars program and reintegrate to the community upon their release sits at only 2% within the first 6 months, and 4% in total. When the program first began in Siem Reap Prison 60% of juveniles released from prison were reoffending within the first 6 months.

“We also work at re-establishing and reconciling connections between students and their families through supported visitation, which ultimately builds their support network and enables successful transition and reintegration back into their communities”, Gorter concluded.

This Life Cambodia won the Stars Impact Award in 2015 for high quality, high impact programming for children, their families and communities. This Life Beyond Bars has been implemented since 2010 in Siem Reap Prison and since 2012 in Banteay Meanchey Prison, with generous support from the Australian Embassy in Cambodia, and World Childhood Foundation.

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