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Prison, My Parents And Me

Duration: 1 x 52'

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This documentary offers a humane and sensitive insight into the lives of prisoners’ children. Lost in the system they are twice as likely to suffer from poor mental health, while two out of three boys with a dad in prison will go on to offend themselves.

Forcing many to question the meaning of punishment and think twice about those who are affected.

We see that when children are given support when they are young, their futures could be bright – instead of some of them becoming the next generation of parents in prison. But other than a handful of charities and few enlightened prisons making a difference, there is still a long way to go.

The Children
Ruby (7) lives in Liverpool with her Mum, older sister Katie and young brother Albie. Ruby is adorably happy and bright and misses her dad every day. A family man, her Dad Michael is one of the lucky ones; he’s in a prison that is only a few miles from the family home. Ruby loves visiting her dad and, thanks to the prison actively encouraging strong family contact, gets to see her dad on regular family days and intensive parenting programmes. But as her dad’s sentence looms, Ruby is getting nervous. She wants to see her dad as much as she can but will his sentence change her visiting rights? We follow Ruby and her family in the lead up to the hearing and for the first time hear from her imprisoned father about his thoughts on his arrest and his views on the future and how his decisions have affected his children.

Cameron (16) has two brothers, Kaine (18) and Neil (13). Their mum Rachel is at Askham Grange prison having undergone an intensive rehabilitation programme. Though Neil has been to see his mum in prison, Cameron has refused to visit Rachel since she went to Askham Grange two years ago. More recently Cameron has been in trouble at school because of his behaviour and his grandparents are struggling without any help or support. When his mother Rachel is given days out on temporary release to mend their broken relationship, Cameron has the opportunity to start to rebuild the trust. Rachel is full of remorse and is determined to right her past wrongs and make it up to her children; but will Cameron forgive her and can they repair their relationship?

Alex (11) and Kyra (8) live in Merseyside with their mum. Bright and bubbly, both girls lead happy lives but admit that they struggled when, despite his promises to ‘be on his best behaviour’, their dad was sent to prison for the second time not long after his first sentence. Kyra struggled at school and Alex didn’t know how to express her hurt – but fortunately both girls were able to get some help from a Children in Need funded support group run by the charity PSS. The girls have also had one-to-one sessions and thanks to the support the sisters are coming to terms with their dad’s imprisonment and are encouraged to tell him how they feel. As their parents are separated they don’t often visit their dad, but with this support they are getting more confident. Will the girls get the courage to tell their father how they really feel about him being in prison?

Clayton (15) lives in Oxford and has been raised by his Grandparents since he was 18 months old. Bridget and Dennis are incredibly strong and stable forces in his life but Clayton has had his fair share of problems and was bullied at school for having both his parents in prison. Discouraged by the constant insults thrown in the school playground, he took up the role that was expected of him. Sweet, bright and quick-witted Clayton now wants to prove himself different from his parents and has set out on a journey to show he can change and won’t end up like his mum or dad. As Clayton visits his dad in prison for the first time in 2 years can Clayton move on from his past and look towards his future?

This film promises to lift the lid on this hidden population of prisoner’s children and will force many to question the meaning of punishment and think twice about those who are affected.

What the Press Say:

“Examines the unique set of fears, insecurities and problems that strike young people who have a parent in jail”-Victoria Segal – The Sunday Times

“The sense of longing and love is palpable, from the way in which children such as Alex pore over every word in the letters from jail.”– Mail on Sunday – Pick of the Day

“Sensitively handled” – Gerard O’Donovan – The Daily Telegraph

“Both desperately sad and inspirational, in Catey Sexton’s touching documentary, the children of prisoners talk about living with false promises, incomprehension and the breakdown of trust” – Sam Wollaston – The Guardian

The Guardian – Pick of the Day

For BBC1

Prison, My Parents And Me
Prison, My Parents And Me
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