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Alan Crickmore's Talk on Prison Expands on the Impact on Families

 - Dec 12, 2018
References: storybookdads.org.uk & ted
Alan Crickmore is an audio and video editor that is currently affiliated with 'Storybook Dads' and his talk on prison outlines the impacts of an imprisoned parent on children's psyche, as well as what led him to his current charity-affiliated profession. Prior, the speaker pursued a career in law and practiced the ritual of story time with two, now grown-up, sons. Until November of 2017, he was serving a sentence as he had committed fraud. Through his first-hand experience, Crickmore attempts to ignite a conversation about imprisonment and its effects on immediate family, particularly on children.

About 200,000 kids in the United Kingdom alone feel "the shame and isolation of a parent in prison." Statistics point that youngsters in these types of environments begin to underperform in school and are three times more likely to experience mental health issues.

The talk on prison suggests that maintaining contact with the outside world is exceptionally difficult and understandably so. Alan Crickmore attempts to make a difference here by encouraging individuals to proactively keep in contact with their children through storytelling. During his sentence at Channings Wood Prison, the speaker worked with 'Storybook Dads' — an organization that was founded in 2003. It allowed "prisoners to read and record stories to send home to their children." The first step of the process is to make sure individuals feel safe to express emotions. After all, imprisoned men can't afford to show weakness or vulnerability amid the ruthless environment that they reside in. After securing a private space, prisoners are able to record their stories and the tapes are sent to a 'Storybook Dads' production unit, where they are edited — from taking out mistakes to adding special effects. Afterward, the recordings are sent to families on CDs or DVDs.

In his talk on prison, Alan Crickmore shares that since 2003, more than 100 UK prisons participate in 'Storybook Dads' and 'Storybook Mums' initiatives, with 98% of prisoners testifying that the opportunity has "improved their relationship with their child." Moreover, the wholesome project does not only connect individuals with their offspring, but it also adds a warm and humanizing quality to the harsh environment of prison.