15th August 2004

As part of the runup to this year’s tenth anniversary of the UN International Year of the Family, the National Family & Parenting Institute (NFPI) has been promoting a more “family-friendly” UK and working with a number of other voluntary sector organisations and Department of Education and Skills (DfES) to drive this forward over the past ten years. The main activities for celebrating the year will take place this autumn, and will include Family Learning Week (11-17 October) and Parenting Week (25-31 October). EUROCHIPS member Action for Prisoners’ Families (APF) has joined with the NFPI, Campaign for Learning, DfES and HM Prison Service to promote a new campaign underscoring the importance of prisoners maintaining quality contact with their families. The campaign seeks to encourage prisons to organize a family event during October; introduce a new initiative during the year which will tangibly improve the situation for prisoners and their families on a long-term basis; and motivate prisoners to write books for children. APF itself will be aiming to launch three initiatives in the autumn of 2004 :
Family Friendly Prisons : Encouraging prisons to run an event in October focused on the needs of the family. Prisons demonstrating that they have done something ‘family friendly’ will be presented with a certificate of achievement. The certificate, from APF, the NFPI and DfES, would be presented at a special event in early 2005, and initiatives will be promoted in APF’s spring newsletter.
Award Scheme. Running an award scheme for prisons to introduce intiatives that show real cultural or sustainable change relating to family ties. Up to three categories will be decided upon-eg. environmental change; children’s project; information- with one price per category. The scheme is slated to be announced in November with a cut-off date for entries of June 2005. Winners would be announced in late 2005. A judging panel is being set up.
Writing competition. A writing competition to be facilitated by the Writers in Prison Network. Prisoners will be asked to write short stories, poems or cartoons aimed at children over 10, on the subject of having a parent in prison. Children’s laureate Michael Morpurgo has been approached to head the selection panel.

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Author: rmchristen