‘Not my crime, still my sentence’



Every year in June COPE (Children of Prisoners Europe), which we are proud members of, runs a social awareness campaign ‘Not my crime, still my sentence’. Its aim is to draw attention to specific needs and rights of children od incarcerated parents. 

On 4th April 2018 at the 1312th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies, Recommendation CM/Rec(2018)5 of the Committee of Ministers to member States concerning children with imprisoned parents was adopted by the Committee of Ministers. 

Recommendation stresses acting in the best interest of a child in the context of parent`s penitentiary isolation , which meand providing children with regular contact including physical visitations, as well as other forms of contact, e.g. via means of remote communication.

Article 17: Children should normally be allowed to visit an imprisoned parent within a week following the parent’s detention and, on a regular and frequent basis, from then on. Child-friendly visits should be authorised in principle once a week, with shorter, more frequent visits allowed for very young children, as appropriate.

Małopolskie Stowarzyszenie Probacja is a proud member of COPE – international European network striving to achieve full respect for the rights of children with incarcerated parents, as well as providing said children with help, promoting their wellbeing and healthy development.

Children separated from their parents are faced with many challenges in various areas: social, economic and emotional. They must be treated with same respect as other children, regardless of their parents` actions or status. 

An opportunity for regular, quality contact with their parents in a friendly environment must be created. Children should receive support allowing them to grow and develop in a healthy manner. It is crucial that children whose parents serve a sentence receive positive support from many sources: schools, community and prison personnel. Effective good practices that take into an account child`s needs fall in line with safety requirements and in many cases help create a positive influence within prison setting.

 Each year COPE runs a social awareness campaign ‘Not my crime, still my sentence’ hoping to shed light on specific needs and rights of children with parents in prison. Childrens wellbeing is paramount for this campaign. Members of COPE within the whole Europe, including us in Poland, in June 2019 worked with children and youth to rewrite the Articles of the Recommendation in the language comprehensible for the kids. When the campaign is over, COPE is planning to publish a paneuropean version of the kid-friendly Recommendation, which we will be happy to share with you in Polish once it`s ready. We do hope that the campaign will raise awarness in Poland and sensitize the community to the overlooked and so-far stigmatized children with parents in prison. 

We encourage you to click on the link below to watch this year`s COPE film!