‘Storybook Dads’ is an initiative started in Devon, UK to help connect prisoners with their children. In 2002, Sharon Berry worked as a volunteer at HMP Channings Wood where she noticed how difficult it was for the prisoners to stay in touch with their children. After working with the Writer in Residence, Sharon moved to HMP Dartmoor where she started the scheme ‘Storybook Dads’ with a handful of children’s books and a microphone. News soon spread about the scheme and many more prisons wanted to join, prompting Sharon to start a Storybook Dads charity to gain funding.
Today the programme helps prisoners from all over the UK, including women’s prisons and youth offenders’ institutes. As well as audio CDs, they create DVDs, help train prisoners in editing and audio, and offer workshops for prisoners to create educational gifts for their children.
Sharon Berry records a father while he reads.
Over 5,000 prisoners a year are helped by Storybook Dads, and they have won various awards for family support, social change, and children’s needs.
With many prisoners worrying about their children’s mental health while they are apart, the scheme helps comfort the child while also helping the prisoner feel connected to their family.
Watch the Ted Talk below to see the real difference the scheme has made in helping heal families torn apart by imprisonment.