19th April 2007

On April 19, 2007, a second study day on the theme “Parenting & Imprisonment: Practical Issues” was held in Geneva . It was organized by Carrefour Prison, an independent association launched in 1970 to provide psychological and social services support for prisoners’ families and newly released inmates. In 2004, a “Chalet” opened 150 m. from the entrance of the Champ Dollon remand prison in Geneva , a family visits, counseling and information center for families awaiting prison visits. The study day aimed to bring together social workers, psychologists, prison staff, judges, politicians, and other professionals to discuss issues revolving around children with imprisoned parents.

An article on the subject will appear in the autumn issue of La Revue Suisse de Criminologie. Psychologist Emmanuelle Granzotti of Carrefour Prison opened the event; Annetta Bennett, head of training and development for Eurochips member KIDS VIP in the UK , spoke at length about the launch of KIDS VIP and the various issues families often face. Frequently asked questions include requests to improve visits conditions in prison and explore whether or not children should be told the truth about a parent’s imprisonment. Nicolas Grin, head of the remand sector from the Fondation Vaudoise de Probation , created in 1895 to help adults confronting the penal justice system, described the difficulties encountered in his work, and the various rewards it offered. He underscored the need to tell children the truth about their imprisoned parent. Marie-France Blanco, president and founder of Relais Enfants-Parents d’Ile de France, reminded the audience of the not so remote period in the past when no support systems for prisoners’ families existed and underscored the importance of any type of action being child-centered when a parent is imprisoned.

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Author: rmchristen