Libraries in prisons
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Libraries and Education Centers in prisons

Most of the people in detention come from disadvantaged or marginalized groups with low levels of education: 30% to 40% lack basic literacy and numeracy skills and have no professional qualifications. Official institutions (the ministry of education and ministry of labour) as well as a few NGOs provide educational or vocational training but opportunities to improve education levels and prepare the detainees’ socio professional reintegration are still insufficient or inadequate.

literacy classesVocational training for detainees


The Prison Library Program, launched in 2012 in collaboration with the General Department of Prisons (Ministry of the Interior) with the support of the European Union and the French Development Agency (AFD), aims to contribute to the education and vocational training of detainees of the 26 prisons in the Kingdom.

In addition to access to resources and computerized libraries (including 5 newly computerized in 2019), the program offers prisoners:

  • Literacy classes conducted in partnership with the Provincial Offices of Education.
  • Pre-release and vocational training programs in partnership with Mith Samlanh and M’Lop Tapang NGOs and with Provincial Offices of Labor & Vocational Training

In 2019, the program entered into its third and final phase (March 2019- February 2022), which will aim to ensure the sustainability of the network of 27 prison libraries and to strengthen the capacities of the General Department of Prisons and prisons to implement and run educational and pre-release services for detainees.

A national seminar took place in March bringing together all the Prison Directors, DGP executives and partners to conclude the second phase of the project and launch the new phase.

In 2019 Sipar also conducted several support, advice and case-by-case training missions in each of the 26 prisons, organized a workshop on reintegration in 5 prisons and started the initiation of future prison guards in training at the Police Academy on the importance of prison libraries.

Lastly, in 2019 Sipar produced, in collaboration with the DGP, the ‘’Prisoner’s Guide’, a booklet on the rights of detainees, daily life in detention and preparation for release. An unprecedented initiative in Cambodia, the booklet will be printed in 10,000 copies and distributed in all prisons in 2020!

Testimonies' videos

See all Sipar's videos

A few figures

  • 26 libraries education centers
  • 30,000 detainees have access to libraries
  • 7,300 readers per month
  • 458 participants in literacy classes
  • 425 participants in vocational training sessions
  • 84 participants in Vocational Orientation sessions


A prisoner on Vocational Training on beauty with Mith Samlanh at CC2 prison

“They are more than teachers for me. They are just like my family. My teachers are always there to encourage me to move on and never lose hope. Without them, I have no idea where I would be now.”



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