A child protection charity in Wellington will present a groundbreaking documentary to residents this month in a move to raise awareness of support and services.
Barnardos will host a screening of Prison Songs at the Senior Citizen’s Hall in Swift Street from 6.30pm on June 23.
Shiree Talbot of Barnardos said the screening is the perfect opportunity to shift the conversation about prison by focusing on providing better supports and services that address the underlying reasons why people end up in jail in the first place.
“Common themes emerge throughout Prison Songs including poverty, social isolation, as well as drug and alcohol issues, which are similar to the experience of many women participating in Barnardos Beyond Barbed Wire Program,” she said.
“Barnardos Beyond Barbed Wire Mentoring Program is a support service for women with children leaving jail. Most are indigenous and are going home from Wellington Correctional Centre to live in Western NSW.
“The Mentoring Program is one of a group of support services for mothers in jail.”
The other components of the service are ‘while incarcerated’ – parenting education and skills programs aimed at improving parenting capacity, relationship skills and knowledge; information about and referrals to other support services; work placement with Barnardos in the community; ‘post release’ – information about and referrals to support services for mothers, their children and families; Beyond Barbed Wire Mentoring Program, case management and short stay accommodation.
The aims of the support services are to support mothers to remain connected with their children while incarcerated and post release, to promote the importance of parenting skills, to reduce the experience of social isolation for women leaving jail, and to connect mothers, their children and families with relevant support services upon release from jail in order to reduce re-offending and recidivism.
Barnardos have supported 94 women between June 2013 until May 2017, of which 96 per cent have remained out of jail.