6 March 2013

Cambodian Kids Behind Bars (10) Lina's Story: Prison Visits.

Lina is a Cambodian woman doing a 16-year prison stretch for a crime she claims she did not commit. She has a young daughter, Maly who spent time in jail with her.

She shares her small cell with as many as 25 prisoners and their children at a time.

Sometimes she never leaves her cell for days, even weeks, at a time.

Food and water supplies are scant and often make the prisoners sick.

Clothing and hygiene products are not supplied to any prisoners or their children by the state. 

There was never enough food  for Lina's daughter, Maly.

Prison guards would often hit Lina's young child and the youngster often witnessed jailer violence against other prisoners. The threat of assault upon Lina's child by other prisoners was a constant worry.

Lina's continues:

"The director and prison guards did not like my child living with me in prison. They would tell me constantly that Maly should not be living with me and that I should find an NGO to take care of her.

Now that my child has left prison and is living in a new home, she comes back to visit me. A few times when she has come, the guards have not allowed her to visit me, because she does not have any money to pay them. How can she give them money, she is so small, she is a child!

Right now we can see those prisoners coming back from visiting their families. I am sure their families had to pay a high price to see them. You can see that they have been given a lot of food from their families and now look! See, the prison guard is taking all of their food, see, he is looking through their bags and he is keeping most of it. He only gives a small amount of food back to the prisoner. I am sure the prisoner’s mother does not know that this is happening, but the guard is joking and laughing like this is an ordinary event. In here, this happens all the time…

The prison guards never took any of the donated food from myself or my child but I think this is because they know the organizations were watching them carefully!"


Prison guards can sniff out a money source right away; should your family be poor then a bribe of 2000 riel (US 50 Cents) might be enough to get a loved one in to see you, wealthy family of a prisoner may have to stump up $100 or more, however.

As you can see family members hoping to improve the nutrition intake of prisoners are thwarted as gifts of food and also clothing are flogged by greedy wardens.

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