(L-R) Social Worker Liz Langham, Kerryn Palmer, Bedtime Stories programme, Tracey Wernecki, Corrections Interventions Coordinator and Kym Grierson, Assistant Prison Director at the Arts Access Awards 2017Arohata Prison’s Bedtime Stories project and Christchurch Men’s Prison were acknowledged at the annual Arts Access Awards at Parliament on July 4th.

Corrections Minister Louise Upston presented volunteer group Bedtime Stories with the Arts Access Corrections Community Award 2017 to recognise the positive impact the project has had on both the women involved and their children.

The Bedtime Stories programme is run at Arohata Prison and helps children bond with their mother in prison by letting them hear their mother’s voice reading them a story on CD.

Theatre director Kerryn Palmer leads the programme and publisher Clean Slate Press sponsor the books.

Chris Burns, Prison Director Arohata and Rimutaka prisons, appreciates the volunteer work that Kerryn and the group do.

“We’re delighted the Bedtime Stories programme has been recognised with the Arts Access Corrections Community Award,” says Chris. “The programme is a highlight for the women who participate in it, and a delight for the children who receive a book and CD. Through the programme the women are maintaining positive family connections that we encourage.

“The award is well-deserved for Kerryn Palmer and her team of volunteers.”

Arts Access Corrections Community Award Highly Commended certificates were also presented to volunteer groups Whānau Manaaki and Write Where You Are. The awards were for delivering effective tikanga Māori to prisoners in Hawkes Bay Regional Prison (Whānau Manaaki) and for providing a voice for prisoners at Arohata Prison and Rimutaka Prison, enabling them to express themselves, and gain confidence, literacy and communication skills (Write Where You Are).

Ray Smith, Chief Executive Corrections, presented Christchurch Men’s Prison staff; Maree Abernethy, Principal Adviser Rehabilitation and Learning, Luan Smith, Interventions Co-ordinator, and Pablo Godoy, Assistant Prison Director, with the Arts Access Corrections Leadership Award 2017 in recognition of the prison’s efforts in working with the community to ensure the arts were an integral part of rehabilitation programmes across the site.

David Pattinson, Acting Prison Director Christchurch Men’s Prison, is proud that the prison has received the Arts Access Corrections Leadership Award 2017.

“This award recognises the range and quality of Arts programmes across the prison site and the dedication of prison staff and partners to make these opportunities available,” says David.

“The Prison is privileged to work with dedicated and visionary art tutors who continue to listen to and explore our ideas and visions. They make them available and achievable to the prisoner, and has us all seeing an end result that more than meets our expectations. This is what inspires the prison to do this work.

“The benefits of the prison art projects has been very positive for the men and staff in the prison.”

The annual Arts Access Awards celebrate the contribution of individuals and organisations which provide opportunities for people with limited access to engage with the arts.

Arts Access Aotearoa has a contract with the Department of Corrections to support and advise on its arts activities and programmes.