Mezinárodní vězeňské společenství, z.s.
Association of Organizations in Prison Ministry (AOOV)
Ministry of Justice
- Masaryk University (co-research on “Parenthood Behind the Bars”) - AOOV (an associaton of 11 Czech NGOs related to prison domain) - Ministry of Justice (actively supports our projects)
Kids of prisoners are hidden victims of their parent’s crime, lost in the system, forgotten. But their parent’s crime negatively influences their whole lives. MVS offers appropriate help to these kids but our help is often hindered by prejudice. That is why our main objective is to bring up this issue and stir debate in Czech society. We want to do so by 1. creating a video series about Forgotten Kids; 2. organizing workshops and 3. an event in Brno, and by 4. publishing Forgotten Kids booklet.
the whole of Czech Republic, as kids of prisoners are sprinkled throughout
MVS has been fighting for and illuminating both professional and general public about Forgotten Kids for 10 years. All along, we try to find enough volunteers and financial support for our work. We often encounter rejection “because it is for the kids of prisoners”, as if they themselves were or were to become criminals. These kids do not get support or sympathy as other kids, who suffer separation from their parents for different reasons (illness, death or divorce), do. Their needs are not known, and nobody wants to know. During criminal proceedings, nobody asks whether the prisoner has children; nobody wonders about the impact of imprisonment on the kids; nobody gives consideration to making their situation easier or facilitating better contact with their imprisoned parent.
By bringing the topic of Forgotten Kids to light, we hope that these kids will no longer be dismissed with prejudice, will be taken into account, better cared for and supported. We hope that people will take active steps towards changing their situation: they will discuss, volunteer, financially support kids of prisoners either directly or by donating to appropriate projects, have personal interest in lives of families of prisoners living nearby. We hope to overcome prejudice towards Forgotten Kids and thus be able to provide effective help through our already running projects. Ultimately, we also hope to achieve appropriate changes in Czech legislation concerning kids of prisoners.
We are doing it primarily for the forgotten kids. We want to help them not to follow their parents' criminal careers, to help them step out of the vicious circle of imprisonment. Furthermore, we are doing it for the families and people caring for the kids; for professionals who treat these stigmatized kids - teachers, social workers, psychologists, professional prison staff, etc.; for academics and researchers in the field; and for general public.
We hope to cooperate and reach all of the above mentioned groups. In general, we are doing it for higher safety in society, lower recidivism and fulfilled potentials of all individuals.
We hope to accomplish the following:
1. create a video series which follows lives of prisoners, their families and their kids, and how we (as individuals, society, as well as MVS) can help;
2. organize at least 1 workshop for professionals and general public. Families of prisoners will be indispensable participants;
3. organize an event in Brno which will be a bit of a merge of all 4: primarily it will be a concert (possibly of one or both Czech prison bands), the video-series will be presented, there will be inputs from professionals as well as from the families of prisoners; leaflets about the issue and Forgotten Kids booklet will be distributed. The main goal is to attract attention of general public and media.
4. publish Forgotten Kids booklet.
Besides the tangible results - a video series, the organized events and a published booklet - we hope there will be less labelling of kids of prisoners, less stigmatization, more support and better enhancement of their potentials. We hope the equation “kids of criminals = criminals” will be changed into “kids of prisoners = let’s be involved, let’s ask, let’s care, let’s help”. We hope that such involvement would be genuine and informed. We hope there will be more volunteers, more interest in the topic, more of more engaged citizens. We hope that the debate and decision-making in the matter of forgotten kids within Czech legislative power will be genuine and informed.
Negative effects of criminality on society knows no boundaries, they are not related to one particular city or state. By preserving relationships between kids and their parents with criminal history, we help reduce recidivism. By breaking prejudice, we lower discrimination towards kids of prisoners. Equal opportunities mean fulfillment of potential of the (not anymore) forgotten kids. If forgotten kids stay forgotten, they grow into forgotten adults who may have difficulties integrating. Thanks to our work, there will ultimately be less people excluded from society. Workshop materials as well as the Forgotten Kids booklet could be translated into other EU languages. Also, even one EU country’s lower recidivism is better for the whole of EU.
Kids are very vulnerable. Whatever they experience today will affect their tomorrows. Society’s prejudice towards families of prisoners hinders effective help which we would otherwise be able to provide. If we manage to open the eyes of a big part of society, we will not be alone in helping those kids forgotten by the system. The help could come from a trained teacher, social worker, tutor in an orphanage or a foster parent. A trained person can understand why the kids’ behaviors changed, why their grades got worse, why they harm themselves or why they are the targets of bullying. Sometimes, not even the imprisoned parents realize how their sentence affects their kids. Changing people’s perspective will have direct influence on the lives of kids.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
1. video 12000 EUR
travel and accom. 3000
2. workshops 8000 EUR
travel and fees for speakers 3000
printed materials 500
3. Brno event 18000 EUR
rent and equipment 5000
travel, accom. and fees for speakers and bands 5000
printed materials 3000
4. publication 4000 EUR
overhead exp. 2000
We are looking forward to learning some advice about video-making, event-organizing, publishing and project-promoting.