Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Prison libraries benefit over 60,000

Prison libraries benefit over 60,000

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More than 60,000 inmates accessed books in prison libraries last year. Heng Chivoan

Prison libraries benefit over 60,000

Sipar on Wednesday announced the implementation of the third and final phase of its prison library project, which will run until 2022.

Since 2012, the organisation has been enabling inmates to use libraries to receive quality and effective education services before they are integrated back into society.

Sipar director Hok Sothik said at a seminar on lifelong learning in prisons on Wednesday that the final phase of the project would further enhance the prison library network and the existing educational services as well as ensure project sustainability.

“The ultimate goal is to ensure that the lifelong curriculum in the prison is sustainable, as stated in the Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Prisons’ strategic plan.

“Upon completion of the project in 2022, Sipar will hand over the prison library project to the General Department of Prisons, which will then be the direct implementer. But Sipar will still provide technical assistance when the General Department of Prisons needs it,” he said.

The project, he said, has allowed thousands of inmates in prisons and correctional centres throughout the Kingdom to use prison libraries to access education services.

The final implementation received funding from the French Development Agency (AFD) and the Pierre Bellon Foundation totalling $550,000, he said.

Sothik said the project has been implemented since 2012 in collaboration with the General Department of Prisons, aiming to improve the literacy of prisoners nationwide. This would help alleviate hardships for prisoners before they leave prison.

The Ministry of Interior’s education and rehabilitation department director Prom Channy said last year, more than 60,000 inmates accessed books in prison libraries.

More than 65,000 inmates borrowed books from the library to read in prison cells.

In addition to Sipar, the main organisation handling prison libraries, nearly 10 other organisations have also been involved in providing technical assistance in the education of prisoners, Channy said.

“The next goal is to continue to work with organisations on education and rehabilitation for all detainees.

“Prison libraries enable inmates to correct themselves during their prison time by reading books so as not to commit further wrongdoing when they are reintegrated into society. It enables them to select a specific skill to make a living of their own,” Channy said.

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