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Marsh Media Award – Reducing Stigma for Prisoners’ Families

This Award was run in partnership with Action for Prisoners’ Families, a membership organisation for the families of prisoners and offenders and those who work with them. The Award recognised an individual or group who used media to raise awareness of the implications of having a family member or partner in prison and help fight the stigma that this generates in the community.

The Award was presented from 2012 until 2013.

Elliot Richards and Ruth Kelly 2013

Elliot Kelly – Elliot, who has a brother who is in prison, worked in collaboration with the youth charity Fixers to create an audio CD which would raise awareness about the preconceptions that prisoners’ families are faced with. The CD contains stories and experiences from ex-offenders and families which show the effects that crime has and aims to encourage people to consider the impact of criminal behaviour on family members. Elliot’s CD has already been used in a number of services for offenders and the project was part of a news story which went out to approximately 340,000 viewers.

Ruth Kelly – Ruth directed and produced Prison Dads, a documentary that followed young fathers in a Leicester Young Offenders’ Institution in Leicester, their children and their children’s mothers for six months. The programme showed that behind a young father in prison is a string of other people whose lives have changed dramatically and how daunting the visits into prison can be for them, especially for the children. The programme was broadcast a number of times on BBC Three when it could have been seen by a young audience.

Previous Winners

Julie Gearey, James Graham and Chloe Moss, Prisoners’ Wives

This year’s Award goes to the writers of the BBC drama series Prisoners’ Wives, a series set in Sheffield which follows four women who have a man in their lives who is in prison. The series demonstrates that prisoners’ families are not one-dimensional and their responses to having someone in prison are not predictable. The writes invited 15 families from the charity to share their experiences so that the drama could reflect real-life. The series highlights how partners may also have to deal with the distress of their children, other family members, the financial fallout, potential housing disruption, health problems and social stigmas and addresses them in a way that is accessible to a wide audience.