Danish prisoners to record bedtime stories

bookPrisoners in Denmark may soon be able to interact with their children from behind bars under a new initiative which would see them read bedtime stories onto CDs.

The proposal is from the Danish Prison and Probation Service (DPPS), which seeks greater family interaction through allowing prisoners to provide their own children with stories. The DPPS has made a grant application for DKK 335,000 (USD 65,000) for recording equipment and project evaluation and operation, with coordinators hoping to run the scheme in two five-month instalments.

“There’s been a really comprehensive project in Britain for many years where inmates, as well as soldiers stationed abroad, can record bedtime stories for their children,” said Hannah Hagerup of the DPPS, explaining that the idea was inspired by similar successful programmes in the UK and Sweden.

A pilot project will be trialled at Funen’s Ringe state prison and if approved could result in much more than just recorded CDs, according to prison teacher Susanne Mose Holm. Holm said that many prisoners themselves have trouble reading and such a scheme would promote an interest in continuing education amongst inmates and lead to greater self-confidence, The Copenhagen Post reports.

The scheme would also teach Danish values in relation to raising children, as many of the prisoners come from non-Danish ethnic backgrounds. “We want to hold presentations about childhood development and have a librarian explain the meaning of reading out loud to their children,” said Holm.

The project is the second operation from the DPPS aimed at helping prisoners bond with children and follows last year’s Book Start programme which offers a range of children’s books from the Danish Agency for Libraries and Media. Some 400 book packs have been sent to inmates across Denmark to allow them to read stories to their visiting children.

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