IPRT - Irish Penal Reform Trust

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Storybook Dads: maintaining family bonds

10th August 2011

Storybook MumsStorybook Dads and Storybook Mums are projects run in prisons which help maintain the vital emotional bond between prisoners and their children by helping offenders to record bedtime stories on CDs and DVDs: "Keeping families together helps to reduce re-offending by up to six times."

The imprisoned parent records a story and a message which is then edited and enhanced using digital audio software. Poor readers or non-readers are not excluded: a mentor simply reads each line for them to repeat and then the mentor’s voice is edited out during the editing process. The CD is burned off, a personalised cover is created and the finished disc is sent to the child.

The story CDs bring comfort and mean that the children can hear their parent’s voice whenever they need to. The engagement with stories and imagination encourages an interest in books and reading, increasing their chances of succeeding at school and significantly improving their social and learning outcomes.

In Ireland participating prisons include: Mountjoy Prison, Midlands Prison and Shelton Abbey.

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