Throughout the month of June, COPE runs an annual pan-European campaign entitled “Not my crime, still my sentence”. The objectives of the campaign include:
• Awareness-raising about the rights and needs of children affected by the imprisonment of a parent
• Effecting policy change for these children on the local, national and European level
The campaign started in 2010, without a budget, and now takes place every year carried by COPE’s members across Europe and as far away as the US, Brazil and New Zealand.
Each year the campaign targets key policymakers as well as the media and general public using online tools, videos, artwork, emails and social media.
This year, the campaign uses the Italian Memorandum of Understanding on children with imprisoned parents as a model text to be replicated in other countries across Europe and further afield. Using this example, “Not my crime, still my sentence” 2016 targets national policymakers such as Ministries of Justice, Children’s Ombudspersons and law enforcement authorities.
Building upon the beautiful pledge cards designed and hand-written by children affected by parental imprisonment as part of last year’s campaign, COPE is also targeting the 72 members of the Intergroup on Children’s Rights of the European Parliament who received copies of these cards. On the backs of the cards, children from six different countries expressed a change they would like to see which would improve their experiences of parental imprisonment. “I wish I could hug my Mum”, “I wish visits were longer”, “I wish we could play outside together” are among the wishes children had to improve their experiences of visiting their parents in prison.
Finally, the campaign targets the directors of Prison Administrations who will be attending the Council of Europe / Council of Penological Co-operation (PC-CP) Conference of Directors of Prison and Probation Services (CDPPS), held in the Netherlands in June.
Find out more about the campaign on our special campaign pages online.