‘Storybook Dads and Mums’ – parents in prison record stories for their children

This project has been the most popular among parents in prison and we have been continously, and with enormous satisfaction, running it in the Cracow area since 2014. So far we have succesfully completed circa 30 (and counting) editions of the project.

The idea originated in Great Britain ( and was brought to Poland by ‘Fundacja Sławek’ from Warsaw. 

Storybook Dads and Mums is a rehabilitation program facilitating social readaptation of the prisoners by focusing on integration of their families, as well as on building social skills. 

As part of the project, detained parents participate in parental competence workshops, followed by reading and recording stories for their children. The program encompasses elements of prevention of domestic violence, with special focus on violence against children.

Parents serving a prison sentence have very limited opportunities of engaging in their children`s upbringing process and maintaining regular contact with them. Sometimes the regular contact between parents and their kids additionally suffers due to improper conditions and unfriendly environment during visitations, or on account of distance between home and prison where the parent is detained.

Attempting to overcome these limitations, it seems reasonable that supplementary tools facilitating child-parent contact are created, as well as additional help in building and cherishing the child-parent bond. This is where the program comes in. Recording of a story gives both parties a chance to come together, to meet in a way. When a child receives a story recorded by her mom or dad she gains an indirect means of contact with the parent. A child hears the parent`s voice and sometimes it is in the recording that a child hears that he is loved by the parent for the first time in his life.

The text of the story opens up a channel of contact with the child, builds a certain safe and intimate communication code.

Positive child-parent relationship and help in maintainig them act as a means of prevention of criminal behaviour, a pitfall likely to devour parents isolated from their children, and the children growing up without a parent.

British research concludes that maintaining family relationships lowers the risk of a perpetrator reoffending by 39%. Moroever, child`s well-being triggers a powerful change in the criminal behaviour of a prisoner.

Covers of CDs with stories, Cracow, December 2017
CD covers made by the detained parents.