This Life Beyond Bars


My son was arrested and sent to Siem Reap prison, charged with theft. I haven’t been able to visit him while he’s in the prison, I just can’t afford it. I worry about what’s going to happen when he finishes his sentence, I think it will be difficult for him to come back to the community, since people know what he did.

Mother, Siem Reap Province.


If rural Cambodians already face some of the most difficult social challenges and entrenched poverty in the world, then juvenile prisoners face even more. In the past, the majority would enter prison without any substantial education, and receive no training or rehabilitation, be exposed to greater criminality and drugs, and experience connections to family and community breaking down. No wonder re-offending was at 60% within six months, with huge social costs borne by whole communities.

Most NGOs write off these juveniles as hopeless – but we refuse to. That’s why our program includes vocational training, personal development support, drug and alcohol counselling, help with maintaining family ties, access to legal advice and advocacy, and post-release support.

The results? Young people who return to their communities and strengthen them for the future, rather than deplete or damage them. Young people who no longer re-offend at a rate of 60%, but at 2%.


What is the aim of the program?


To increase the skills, knowledge and family connections of children and young people in prison and to aid successful integration back into their communities upon release.


What activities do we run?



What are the program outcomes?



This Life Beyond Bars: 3 Year Evaluation

This comprehensive report highlights the overall success of TLBB in providing an alternative model of support for juveniles in prison, and for families with a parent in prison. The evidence presented positions TLBB as a good practice model in Cambodia.

To learn about our program for families with a caregiver in prison, go toThis Life in Family

  • 70% of juveniles in Cambodian prisons are based in the three prisons where we work.
  • 2% is the recidivism rate of students in our program; it was at 60% when we started This Life Beyond Bars
  • 37 young adults in our program when released from prison were supported with their reintegration to family and community

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