MORE than 800 child inmates as well as 54 children whose mothers are incarcerated were presented with soap and food packages prepared by the rights group Licadho on Tuesday to mark International Children’s Day.
At the capital’s Prey Sar prison, the annual visit also included a traditional dance performance.
Yim Ngang, a representative of the Interior Ministry’s Prisons Department, stressed the rehabilitative aspects of incarceration in remarks before more than 400 young inmates housed in Prey Sar’s Correctional Centre 2.
“The correctional centre is not the place for punishing all of you, but the place for training and educating you to become good people who can learn some skills as well,” he said. “You have to change your mind and try to learn the skills in the centre in order to help to develop our country when you all leave from here.”
Inmates at CC2 are currently taught carpentry and mechanics basics as part of vocational training programmes. CC2 director Chat Sineang said that of the 412 minor inmates incarcerated there, 380 are being held on robbery charges or have been convicted of robbery. In addition, 14 children are staying at the facility because their mothers have been convicted of a range of crimes, he said.
Figures distributed by Licadho prison researcher Chheav Hourlay on Tuesday revealed that there are 829 child inmates in 15 correctional facilities nationwide, along with 54 children of inmates.
Ros Chanmoly, 40, who was convicted on human trafficking charges while pregnant with her daughter, now 2 years old, said that while she appreciated the visit, she was upset that her daughter had spent her whole life behind bars. “My daughter was born in prison,” she said.
“I have been in jail for three years, and I have to wait 12 more before I can leave.”