VIP – Visiting in Prison
GrundtvigLearning Partnerships, 2006-2009
The VIP project resulted in publishing several books about, for and by inmates and their families. A moving collection of stories contributed to developing and improving educational programs in prisons.
Project coordinator / Project website
HMP Wolds, UK
Poland, Portugal, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Italy, UK
Inmates and their families
To publish a book for children visiting prison and for their families
To improve visiting system in prisons
To share good practice on family visits in prison
To create a network supporting partner organizations
To develop educational ideas and programs in prisons addressing the needs of inmates, their families and prison staff
To reach public opinion with information on life in prison and relevant issues
The project built special links between prison enclaves and the rest of society. It addresses difficulties faced by families trying to maintain contact with their loved ones – the inmates. The project partners decided to focus on family visits in prison and to use literary work as a medium of communication and interaction between those isolated and their relatives. Several books were published in all partner languages, written by and for both inmates and their families, especially children. A great variety of stories, testimonies, poems and other forms of creative expression were collected and benefited prisoners and their families.
It’s five o’clock in the morning and I am already up. Today, at last, is the visit day. I am a bundle of nerves, I want the visit so much, but on the other hand I am so afraid what it is going to be like. It has been three months now since I last saw them. My wife and the daughter are supposed to come and see me at ten o’clock, so any moment now, I shall be taken by a guard to the visit room… (“Behind the Prison Wall”- a story for older children published in Plock Penitentiary, Poland)
When we got inside the prison we had to go into the visitor’s centre. We had to tell the lady who worked there, daddy’s name, and we had come to see him. I told her that I had come to take him home with me. She told me I couldn’t but I still wanted to. Mummy put all our things into a locker and then we were taken to another place… (“Visiting Day” – a colouring book for children written by a dad who recorded his own three-year old son’s conversation about his first visit to the prison in HMP Wolds, UK).