Our work with Wandsworth Prison

Biscuit decoration at Wandsworth Family Day

A small group of us went into Wandsworth Prison today to run a biscuit decorating activity with the men and their families.

What are family days?

At the beginning of 2017, Wandsworth Prison started running family days once a month. They wanted to increase the amount of quality time that the men can spend with their children, as normal visits are only an hour.

Family days last for 4 hours and are relaxed and fun for the families. Each one follows a theme, and there’s usually lots of fun and games like dressing up, face-painting, inflatable ball-pits, painting and crafts and a film in the afternoon. It provides a chance for the families to chat and play together.

Why are family days important?

Family time is valuable for all parts of our community, and this is no different in the prison population. Research has shown that prisoners who receive regular visits from their family members are 39% less likely to reoffend,* and it’s clear when we visit that the men are made so happy by seeing their children.

How is Paradise Co-operative involved?

The prison own Dobbins field, and we steward it on their behalf. We want to acknowledge this and repay their generosity in a way that benefits prisoners’ families.

We’ve been going along for six months to help at the Family Days. We run an activity each session, from planting seeds and potato printing; to nursery rhymes with the toddlers; decorating biscuits and making giant bubbles. Our aim is to reach out to this part of our community and get to know the families through informal and and enjoyable activities. It’s a nice way for the dads to do a specific activity with their children, as this part of normal life they miss day-to-day.

Want to find out more?

If you’re interested in finding out more, contact Rosie through the website.

Volunteers are accompanied at all times by prison officers, and the days are relaxed, fun and safe.

Lord Farmer Report August 2017: “Importance of strengthening prisoners’ family ties to prevent reoffending and reduce intergenerational crime”

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