15th August 2004

During a recent meeting in Bonn organized by the Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft für Straffälligenhilfe, a federal association regrouping associations in Germany working on behalf of people dealing with the justice system, a steering committee focusing on working with prisoners’ families explored a series of issues. Criminologist Anne-Marie Klopp* presented the European network EUROCHIPS and underscored the right of children to maintain contact with an imprisoned parent, even if the caretaker parent is not ready for the child to visit the imprisoned parent. According to Klopp, this child’s rights perspective is not always implicit when assisting people involved with the justice system, and often raises questions for those working within the field. One participant, for example, raised the issue of what to do when the offense is alleged sexual abuse of children. Another maintained that her job was to support the inmate’s partner, and underscored the difficulty in emphasizing the child’s rights over the mother’s wishes. The work session highlighted the importance of access to information and training of professionals when working with children of imprisoned parents and family ties, as well as parenting support for imprisoned parents. *President of the European Forum, an organization of professionals specializing in the criminal policy in Europe .

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Author: rmchristen