Children of Imprisoned Parents

1,000 Euro Prize 2012

Country: Czech Republic

Region: Implemented nationwide

Sector: Civil Society / Social Economy

Fields of action: Family, Criminality

Project owner: Czech Helsinki Committee

Responsible person: Markéta Kova?íková

Website: Weblink

What is it about?

Children and adolescents whose father or mother are in prison should have the opportunity to visit or stay with them and to correspond and telephone with them before and after a visit. A precondition is current contact on the part of the parent. Children’s accompanied visits to the prison are at the heart of the project. Good preparation is important, especially psychologically in the case of the child and the imprisoned parent, and infrastructurally in the case of the prison. It is also important to convince those persons who care for the children. Currently, such visits are possible in seven (of 35) prisons, and 50 families are looked after. In September, a Skype-based pilot project will start in one prison in Prague.

Appreciation of the Jury

If both sides wish it, maintaining the relationship between parent and child(ren) is good for the mental and social health of children, and important for the reintegration of prisoners. Not only should these visits and contact be made possible, but prison management also needs to be persuaded to make contact easier, while society needs to be convinced that such contact is important. Providing specific help in each individual case, changing existing prejudices in the social mainstream, and increasing governmental awareness that children have a right to contact with their imprisoned parent is a complex mission that we are delighted to award a prize to.