INDEPENDENT NEWS

Prisoners' children need community support

Published: Mon 20 Nov 2006 05:31 PM
Prisoners' children need community support
Prison Fellowship stretched to meet the needs of prisoner’s children at Christmas The huge blowout in the prison population, has meant that Prison Fellowship will be challenged this year to buy enough presents for the Angel Tree program.
Angel Tree is a Prison Fellowship programme that provides Christmas toys to prisoners' children who might otherwise be overlooked during the Christmas Season. The shortfall is due to the current blowout within the prison system. There are currently 7,800 prisoners in the corrections system – around 2000 more than was predicted two years ago.
Kim Workman, National Director, explains, “We have always been able to rely on our volunteer and church networks to meet the needs of the children of prisoners. Last year, we need to reach beyond our usual networks, and seek wider support. We will need to stretch ourselves even further this year, to meet the needs of our children. When asked what was the most important aspect of Angel Tree, Mr Wokman responded:
“We sometimes don’t appreciate that these children are the unwilling victims of crime. Our efforts go some way toward linking children with their imprisoned parents. International research shows that where imprisoned parents can maintain a link with their children, the children are more likely to respond positively to school and to their parents, and less likely to offend or truant.”
“But the positive impact is felt more widely than that. Prisoners who have neither the money nor mobility to provide Christmas presents, often feel helplessly frustrated when they think of their children during this time. That in turn can result in anti-social behaviour, withdrawal, and depression. It provides a crucial link between children and their imprisoned parents.”
Readers who would like to support the project or contribute can do so through Prison Fellowship’s website at www.pfnz.org.nz
ENDS

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