The 2017 Children of Prisoners Europe (COPE) “Not my crime, still my sentence” campaign was a great success! Members were busy the whole month of June, organising a variety of events and activities to raise awareness and feature the voices of children with a parent in prison. Here are some examples of the initiatives: 

Nine members raised awareness in schools using COPE posters. Several members, including Families Outside (Scotland), organised awareness-raising campaigns through social media. REPR (Switzerland) ran a drawing competition and Families Outside hosted a film screening. COPE and the campaign were highlighted in a journal by Telefono Azzurro (pages 12-13)(Italy). FFP (Norway) encouraged prisons to make waffles for the children visiting and provide other activities to improve their experience. REP ASBL (Belgium) prepared reports on children of prisoners during the month of the campaign, and Probacja (Poland) gave expression cards to 20 schools for educators to use to teach on the subject of children with imprisoned parents. Solrosen (Sweden) worked with children to create shoebox models of prison cells as a way of illustrating changes they wanted to see. Exodus (Netherlands) gave their expression cards to the director of The Custodial Institutions Agency of the Netherlands during an agency meeting and NIACRO (Northern Ireland) created a video showcasing children’s voices on how to improve prison visits.

Thanks to eleven other members, COPE was able to gather opinions on prison visits from over a hundred children across Europe. The expression cards used during the campaign will help better inform prison directors and policymakers as to what children of prisoners would like to see during their visits to prisons. Find the full list of feedback from the children here. COPE would like to thank all members for their activities and achievements during the campaign, making this year’s campaign a fruitful one!

Author: rmchristen