Euna Lee and Laura Ling were recently sentenced to 12 years "reform through labor" (hard labor) by the North Korean government, a fact that many believe North Korea is using as a bargaining chip for concessions from the U.S. However, as time goes by, it is feared that they may actually by transferred to one of the labor camps, notorious for their poor conditions and brutality. Both Lee and Ling have medical problems which will certainly complicate matters.
There seems to be a general concensus that prisoners are fed poorly and beaten regularly. Many die within the first two to three years of confinement. Returning detainees tell various stories of their imprisonments. One man, speaking little of his experience except to say that he was treated humanely was released after 90 days. He committed suicide 30 days later. There are even sadder stories of abuse within the camps. But there are also stories of relatively fair treatment. We can only hope and pray for the best for our two journalists.