In 2016, COPE’s “Not my crime, still my sentence” campaign used 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, the 2016 campaign targeted 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 2015’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 targeted 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.
In June 2016, COPE launched a new, improved campaign section of the website, with information on past campaigns; an interactive map showing what was going on across Europe during the month of June; policy recommendations; articles; and infographics. A press release published on 1 June was sent to English- and French-language international media contacts. This press release formed the basis of a lengthy article published in Polish, in major Polish media outlet Interia. The article can accessed online: http://fakty.interia.pl/tylko-u-nas/news-o-tym-sie-nie-mowi-dobro-dziecka-skazanca,nId,2216300
Each week throughout the month of June 2016, COPE focused on a different article of the Italian Memorandum of Understanding. The 4 weekly focuses were on:
- child-friendly visits (highlighting good practice from COPE members Bambinisenzasbarre, Italy; KRITS, Finland; and Relais Enfants Parents (Belgium);
- maintaining family ties (highlighting good practice from COPE members TCYOV, Turkey; Barnardo’s, Northern Ireland; Storybook Dads, UK);
- information, assistance and support (highlighting good practice from COPE member Families Outside and research from the EU-funded transnational study “Children of prisoners: Interventions and mitigations to strengthen mental health”)
- and data collection (highlighting good practice at the European level and in Ireland and Italy).