An Invercargill Prison programme to help incarcerated fathers
bond with their children is not being considered for the
Otago Corrections Facility.
Last week, the Department of Corrections opened a new
child-friendly, low-security visitors area at Invercargill
It was part of a programme to support communication and
relationships between fathers in jail and their young
The new visitors area at Invercargill Prison was designed to
engage fathers and their children in activities and
conversation that helped strengthen relationships, build
parenting skills and prepare them for release.
A Corrections spokeswoman said the programme was not being
considered for implementation at the Otago Corrections
Facility, but other initiatives were being developed to help
Otago prisoners' rehabilitation.
Invercargill Prison manager Stu Davie said prison visiting
areas were commonly stark, barren spaces and it was difficult
to balance security measures with children's needs for family
Prisoners were looking forward to using the new facility with
their children, he said.
Book, toys, arts and crafts will be included in the
children's visitor centre, which will be open every Sunday.
The initiative was supported by the charity Pillars, which
advocated for children of prisoners.
Pillars chief executive Verna McFelin said a stable,
supportive family environment throughout a person's jail
sentence was a key factor in the prevention of reoffending.
Even in jail, father-child relations could benefit the child,
Without intervention, children of prisoners are six or seven
times more likely to become prisoners than the children of
About 20,000 New Zealand children have at least one parent in