Ask Justin – prison


Got some questions?

Justin answers questions you may have. See below.

  • What is prison?

    Prison is a place where people are sent to live as punishment for breaking the law. If you have a parent in prison, you are not alone. About 20,000 children in New Zealand have parents in prison. These kids have many of the same fears, worries and feelings that you do. Most of all it is important to remember that it was your parent who broke the law, not you. You did nothing wrong.

  • Why do people go to prison?

    A person is put in prison when he or she is caught breaking the law. Laws are rules that help to keep peace and order. When a person breaks the law he or she may have to go to prison. But breaking the law doesn't make someone a bad person or a bad parent, it makes him or her a person who made a bad choice.

  • What will it be like in the visiting room?

    You will see correction officers, other visitors and other children. A security camera is there is keep people safe. There will be chairs to sit on. Some prisons may have tables or toys to play with. It may be noisy and you will have to share the room with a lot of people. You will see your parent and he or she may be wearing overalls.

  • Can I eat in the visiting room?

    No, you can't take food into the prison, but you can take a bottle in for a baby.

  • Will I have to wait when I get to the prison?

    Yes, you may have to wait in line for a while, and keep to the rules as you are waiting.

  • What will the correction officers be doing?

    It's the correction officers' job to make sure everyone is safe and you can hear each other. So if you are too noisy they might ask you to leave.

  • How often can I visit?

    You can visit at least once a week during the day. But every prison is different.

  • Will I be locked in and can I get out?

    Yes, you will be locked in while you are visiting, but you will be let out.

  • Can I take my friend to visit, too?

    Only if your caregiver says that's OK.

  • Can I visit my parent on my own?

    No. You have to take an adult with you. Talk to your caregiver about finding someone who can take you if they can't.

  • When will my parent get out of prison?

    This is different for every person. Talk to your caregiver about this.

  • I think my parent has gone to prison. But I am not sure.

    Explain to your caregiver how you are feeling and that you need to know the truth.

  • Will my parent change in prison?

    Your parent may be given a chance to learn more about themselves and making good choices.

  • I want to live with my parent in prison. If I commit a crime will we be together?

    Don't commit a crime to be with your parent. Prisons do not put family members together. Children are not put into adult prisons.

  • How big are the prisons?

    All the prisons are different. Some hold 100 people and some hold 1000 people.

  • Is prison like what it is on TV?

    TV is usually just pretend. And all prisons are different.

  • What does parole mean?

    Your parent will have a parole date which is when they will meet with a judge and some other important people who will decide if they are allowed to come out early. Your parent / caregiver might go to this meeting to help them decide.

  • What is incarceration?

    It is another word for imprisonment.

  • Can I give my parent a hug / kiss when I see them?

    Yes. Unless your dad or mum is on a booth visit, and then you can't touch them

  • Can I take things to show my parent?

    No, you can't because you can't bring things into the prison.