Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Churches protest Christmas prison visits

Churches protest Christmas day prison visits cancellation.

“Over 2,700 children and family members have visited prisoners on Christmas Day for the past 16 years, until NSW Corrective Services stopped the visits last year. After an initial change of heart, Christmas Day visits have been cancelled again” JA coordinator Brett Collins revealed today.

“The Catholic Church, the Uniting Church through its division Uniting Care, the Conference of Leaders of Religious Institutes and others have called for Corrective Services to reinstate Christmas Day visits” he said.

“Christmas Day is traditionally a day for families to come together in a spirit of love and forgiveness. It celebrates a day when the most important family in the Christian world first came together. This day is about children, wives, parents and husbands of prisoners who need contact with their jailed loved ones” said JA coordinator Michael Poynder.

“The recidivism rate in NSW is a shocking 43.7% - the highest in the country, but State Plan efforts hope to reduce it by 10%. Corrective Services acknowledge the significance of the family to help prisoners readjust upon release. Support for Christmas Day, which promotes the family ethos including the missing family member, is essential to reduce this figure” said Mr Collins.

“Justice Action calls on Commissioner Woodham to return Christmas Day visits and to make Christmas a feature goodwill event in the Corrective Services calendar – a day where hope and rebirth are expressed as it has in the past” said Mr Poynder.

For comments:

Brett Collins on 0438 705 003
Michael Poynder on 0401 371 077

Trades Hall, Suite 204, 4 Goulburn St, Sydney NSW 2000 Australia
PO Box 386, Broadway NSW 2007 Australia
T 612 9283 0123 | F 612 9283 0112
E ja@justiceaction.org.au

proudly sponsors Justice Action

SHINE for Kids
What happens for a young person who has a parent in prison?

There are a lot of consequences for children or young people who have a parent in prison. During Groupwork the kids themselves have identified as being:

Isolated – feeling lonely
Stigmatised – feeling they aren't as good as others
Ostracised/ignored – left out
Missing out
on time with Mum or Dad
on activities, because there isn't enough money
Angry – at Dad, at Mum, at the police, at themselves
Deserted – betrayed, let down
about Mum or Dad not being OK
about what is going to happen to them now
Humiliated/embarrassed – most kids wouldn't dare tell any of their friends
Stressed – stress can trigger anger/aggression, fits of crying, even bedwetting
Guilty – a lot of kids feel like it is their fault that mum or dad is in jail
Confused by changes in family dynamics
Insecure – most kids no longer feel safe and secure, they miss their parent
Low in self esteem
Having to become the adult
Statistics indicate that at any one time approximately 15,000 students in NSW are directly affected by the imprisonment of a parent, and that 60,000 students under the age of 16 have experienced parental incarceration at some point in their lives. The peer groups of each of these students can also be affected indirectly.


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