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Children of Prisoners Week

Children of Prisoners Week

Children visiting a parent in prison can look forward to a special focus on them this week as we acknowledge Children of Prisoners week, says Deputy National Commissioner Rachel Leota.

Staff and community volunteers have organised a range of activities for visiting children and their families. Thousands of children in New Zealand have a parent in prison, and this can be associated with a range of adverse outcomes for them.

“These children are not responsible for mum or dad’s actions. We know that having a parent in prison can have a significant impact on a child’s life,” says Mrs Leota. “It is important we do what we can to make these children feel safe, supported and loved.”

Research published by Pillars shows that children of prisoners are more likely than others to end up in prison themselves.

“If children can have a positive visit with their parent in prison this can actually help their outcomes later in life,” says Mrs Leota. “Positive contact between a parent in prison and their child improves outcomes for the child, and reduces their anxiety.”

To mark Children of Prisoners week, prisoners from Rimutaka Prison’s print shop have made cards for parents in prison to send to their children over the week.

Charity organisation Pillars also works with Corrections to strengthen family relationships to reduce reoffending. Pillars is also marking the week with art exhibitions featuring works created by children of prisoners.

Prisoners who are able to maintain responsible and committed relationships with their families are more motivated to turn their lives around while in prison and live crime-free lives upon release.

“These positive family relationships can be key to an offender’s decision to cease crime and be there for their children to ensure that their lives don’t take a similar path to prison,” says Mrs Leota.


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