15th April 2005

The Milan-based association Bambinisenzasbarre (BSS), a Eurochips member, is working in collaboration with San Vittore Prison to organize a new prison visits booking scheme for children with imprisoned parents. In May 2004, BSS opened the Stanza Verde, a child-friendly space in Milan’s Science and Technology Museum near San Vittore Prison where children with imprisoned parents can wait prior to prison visits-which frequently require long waits outside the prison, rain or shine (the prison has no official booking scheme for visits). The Stanza Verde (literally “green room,” named after the room where stage actors go to decompress before their play premieres) is a bright, child-friendly room with toys and games and specially trained personnel to help alleviate anxiety and stress among the children. Staff and volunteers provide support and information about psychological issues, legal matters and other relevant concerns. Now, since mid-February, BSS actually books the visit with the prison once the child arrives at the museum, and to avoid any delays, accompanies the child to the prison only when the scheduled visit is to begin. Children using Stanza Verde facilities can visit the science museum while they wait, providing an educational link to the child’s community. BSS spearheaded the initiative, working in tandem with the prison service (Provveditorato Regionale, Centro Servizio Sociale per Adulti), municipal public health services (ASL), the Università di Milano-Bicocca, Enaip (a private training foundation), the Caritas Ambrosiana Foundation and the National Science and Technology Museum Foundation. The Stanza Verde currently operates on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

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Author: rmchristen