Friday, March 18, 2005


14,500 children in NSW go to bed each night with a parent in prison!

'Barbed Wire'

I took a picture to show fear. The fear I felt when I talked to someone for the first time About my brother in prison. I felt loads of guilt for my brother.I had done nothing wrong.© Adam / PhotoVoice

Why the Forum?

Families who have a member in prison are often the hidden sufferers. It is not something people in this situation easily disclose, but they are often left carrying the burden. Apart from the emotional issues (eg. grief, anger, shame) there are a range of other issues they are encumbered with eg. how to communicate with the prisoner, what's involved with visiting especially with children, travel, finance, debt, housing, security, how to adjust when the prisoner returns home etc. All this has a huge impact on the lives of young children. Families in this predicament may not want to be identified and labelled as a group. It is incumbent on services to become aware of the issues facing families and work towards the best outcomes for children and other family members.

Objectives of the Forum

To build awareness of the issues facing families of prisoners among service providers

Who is the Forum for?

Workers in all services that may in the course of their work encounter families who have a family member in prison. Eg. Health, Housing, DOCS, Centrelink, Schools and TAFE Colleges, Child Care, Family Support, Neighbourhood Centres, Police, Youth Services, Indigenous Services, Multicultural and Ethno-specific services, Mental Health, Disability services, Drug and Alcohol services.

Where and when will the Forum be?
Wednesday, 18 May 2004
9.00am to 3.30 pm
Bankstown Town Hall


Free-Light lunch included.

Presenters include:

* CRC - Community Restorative Centre 'Changing Lives, Reducing Crime'

* SHINE for Kids - formerly Children of Prisoner's Support Group

* UNSW Social Work Dept - Eileen Baldry

* Centrelink Prison Servicing Unit

*Family and Community Services, Dept of Correctional Services

14,500 children in NSW go to bed each night with a parent in prison!

Families of Prisoners Forum

Do you work with families? Some of these families will have a family member in prison. Most of these families will not disclose this.

Come along and gain an understanding of the issues impacting on families who have a relative in prison.


* Impact on Children's lives
* The role of Housing
* Finance and Debt
* Relationships
* Health
* The cycle of incarceration and its impact on families.

To register for this forum contact Yana Bilic Department of Housing Liverpool:

* Telephone: (02) 9821-6387 or 0401 984-512
* Fax: 9821 6035
* Email:

Name: _______________________________
Organisation: __________________________
Contact Details: ________________________
e-mail or fax this to the above address by 18 April

Illustration: Fairness for Prisoners’ Families

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
  • Frightened
    • 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.

By Justice Action posted 29 March 05


NSW: Staff shortages are continuing to cripple the day to day running of the state's prisons, with correctional officers worried about their safety from constant prisoner lockdowns.

Tough line on crime fills jails
The tough law-and-order policies of governments around the nation are behind an explosion in the prison population by almost 80 per cent in the past two decades.

I am a prisoner in NSW and I am currently held in Parklea Prison. I am concerned about what is going on in NSW prisons and this is my story.

Parklea Prison: No calls for six days
The last calls that were made out of Parklea Correctional Complex by my partner, an inmate in remand at Parklea, was on Wednesday 2 February. The phone lines for the inmates have been out of service to this date.

Prison visits in crisis in NSW
The reason I am writing today is to address a difficult situation that my husband and my family are going through. My husband is currently serving a sentence at Lithgow Correctional Centre in NSW.

Prison boom will prove a social bust
Hardened criminals are not filling NSW's prisons - the mentally ill and socially disadvantaged are, writes Eileen Baldry.

The prison system requires assiduous oversight
As NSW Attorney General Bob Debus noted in 1996: "The kinds of complaints which occur in the system may seem trivial to outsiders but in the superheated world of the prison, such issues can produce explosive results."

Crime and Punishment
Mark Findlay argues that the present psychological approach to prison programs is increasing the likelihood of re-offending and the threat to community safety.

Justice Denied In NSW Corrective Services
There used to be a (VJ) or Visiting Justice who would go into the prison and judge any claim or accusation that was made by any prisoner or prison guard. If it were found that a prisoner had offended then punishment was metered out.

Prison guards test positive for drugs
NSW prison visitors banned from using the toilet The visit is only for about one hour and any thing less than that is an insult. If it's proved that a visitor has broken the rules the punishment should apply to them. But collective punishment on all visitors should not be made general when others haven't broken the rules especially if it restricts all visitors from normal human needs like using a toilet.

NSW prison visitors banned from using the toilet
The New South Wales Government has introduced several initiatives to stop contraband getting into prisons they said last Friday. But under the guise of "stricter rules" the department had also introduced banning all visitors including children from using the toilet unless they terminate their visit at any NSW prison after using the toilet.

Watchdogs slaughtered in NSW
On Tuesday the Carr Government reduced transparency and accountability yet again and New South Wales is in danger of becoming entrenched with cronyism and intimidations with the Carr Labor Government that continues to slaughter the watchdogs.