An agreement inked between NGOs and the prison department will give juvenile inmates in Phnom Penh a second chance in a bid to reduce re-offending.
This Life Cambodia signed an agreement yesterday with the International Committee of the Red Cross and the General Department of Prisons to provide vocational training and personal development programs to an expected 40 children, aged 14 to 18, per year.
This Life Cambodia executive director Billy Gorter said the program had helped 120 juveniles in Siem Reap and Banteay Meanchey since 2010, bringing the recidivism rate down from 60 per cent within six months after release, to 2 per cent for that period and 4 per cent overall.
Apart from improving family ties, the students learn electrical trade skills and how to repair air conditioners and white goods.
Gorter said there has been a spike in arrests of children for drug offences and stressed working with a child’s strengths could see sustainable change.
Drug specialist David Harding welcomed the project but stressed it was a major issue that children were still detained alongside adult prisoners.