• Why do people go to prison?

    Because when a person breaks the law and is caught they are sent to prison. Just like time out at school and home. Prison is time out for grown ups.

  • Is it my fault my parent went to prison?

    No. It's normal to feel this way. Don't blame yourself. It's not your fault.

  • Is my parent a bad person because they are in prison?

    No, your parent is not a bad person. They are still your parent. They made a bad choice and broke the law. That is why they are in prison.

  • I don't want to visit my parent in prison. Is that okay?

    Yes. It's OK to feel this way. You could talk to someone you trust, about it. You can still keep in contact by talking to them on the phone or writing letters if you want to.

  • Is it OK to be angry at my parent for what they did?

    It is OK to feel angry about what they did, but staying angry or doing angry things will hurt you and everyone else. Talk about how you feel angry with your caregiver or someone you trust or go to the phone page to find somebody to talk to.

    People I know
    Family, mentor, friends, people at church, school teacher, adults you trust.
    Parent or caregiver at home
    It's important to tell the person looking after you about how you are feeling.5
    Hear other children talking about what it is like for them, at a page in this app.
    Help lines
    You can ring these at any time if you live in New Zealand, and someone will be there to talk to you:

    • Kids Line (13 or younger) 0800 543-754
    • Youth Line (14 or older) 0800 376 633
    • What's Up 0800 942 878
    • Child Help Line (Monday to Friday 9am - 7.30pm) 0800 366 694
  • Why do people go to prison?

    Because when a person breaks the law and is caught they are sent to prison. Just like time out at school and home. Prison is time out for grown ups.

  • Is it my fault my parent went to prison?

    No. It's normal to feel this way. Don't blame yourself. It's not your fault.

  • Is my parent a bad person because they are in prison?

    No, your parent is not a bad person. They are still your parent. They made a bad choice and broke the law. That is why they are in prison.

  • I don't want to visit my parent in prison. Is that okay?

    Yes. It's OK to feel this way. You could talk to someone you trust, about it. You can still keep in contact by talking to them on the phone or writing letters if you want to.

  • Is it OK to be angry at my parent for what they did?

    It is OK to feel angry about what they did, but staying angry or doing angry things will hurt you and everyone else. Talk about how you feel angry with your caregiver or someone you trust or go to the phone page to find somebody to talk to.

    People I know
    Family, mentor, friends, people at church, school teacher, adults you trust.
    Parent or caregiver at home
    It's important to tell the person looking after you about how you are feeling.
    You can email us
    If you email us we will get back to you.
    Listen to other children
    Hear other children talking about what it is like for them
    Help lines
    You can ring these at any time if you live in New Zealand, and someone will be there to talk to you:

    • Kids Line (13 or younger) 0800 543-754
    • Youth Line (14 or older) 0800 376 633
    • What's Up 0800 942 878
    • Child Help Line (Monday to Friday 9am - 7.30pm) 0800 366 694
  • People say I am like my parent, does that mean I will end up in prison too?

    No. Even if you are told you are just like your parent, it doesn't mean you will end up in prison too. Everyone has to make their own choices.

  • My parent at home is often sad or angry, what can I do?

    They are feeling upset because your parent is in prison. Your parent may be crying a lot or getting angry and stressed easily. You can help by helping out at home like making your own bed or helping with the dishes. You could write your parent at home a nice letter to tell them you love them or give them a big kiss and cuddle. You can look at this list below to find a person to talk to about how you feel.


    People I know
    Family, mentor, friends, people at church, school teacher, adults you trust.
    Parent or caregiver at home
    It's important to tell the person looking after you about how you are feeling.
    You can email us
    If you email us we will get back to you.
    Listen to other children
    Hear other children talking about what it is like for them
    Help lines
    You can ring these at any time if you live in New Zealand, and someone will be there to talk to you:

    • Kids Line (13 or younger) 0800 543-754
    • Youth Line (14 or older) 0800 376 633
    • What's Up 0800 942 878
    • Child Help Line (Monday to Friday 9am - 7.30pm) 0800 366 694
  • What could change at home now that my parent is in prison?

    Your parent at home may have less time to spend on you. You may have to help them more. They may have less money as you had before. You may have to move house. This may be scary, but there will always be someone to look after you and somewhere for you to live. If you want to talk to someone else, look at people in this list below who you could talk to.


    People I know
    Family, mentor, friends, people at church, school teacher, adults you trust.
    Parent or caregiver at home
    It's important to tell the person looking after you about how you are feeling.
    You can email us
    If you email us we will get back to you.
    Listen to other children
    Hear other children talking about what it is like for them
    Help lines
    You can ring these at any time if you live in New Zealand, and someone will be there to talk to you:

    • Kids Line (13 or younger) 0800 543-754
    • Youth Line (14 or older) 0800 376 633
    • What's Up 0800 942 878
    • Child Help Line (Monday to Friday 9am - 7.30pm) 0800 366 694
  • Will my parent come home to live with me?

    This is different for everybody. Talk to your caregiver about this. If they do come home to live with you, you might be happy or nervous. Talk to someone about how you feel from this list below.


    People I know
    Family, mentor, friends, people at church, school teacher, adults you trust.
    Parent or caregiver at home
    It's important to tell the person looking after you about how you are feeling.
    You can email us
    If you email us we will get back to you.
    Listen to other children
    Hear other children talking about what it is like for them
    Help lines
    You can ring these at any time if you live in New Zealand, and someone will be there to talk to you:

    • Kids Line (13 or younger) 0800 543-754
    • Youth Line (14 or older) 0800 376 633
    • What's Up 0800 942 878
    • Child Help Line (Monday to Friday 9am - 7.30pm) 0800 366 694
  • Will my parent at home have to go to prison too?

    A lot of children who have a mum or dad in prison worry about this. Talk to someone you trust and tell them how you feel or fine someone to talk to on this list.


    People I know
    Family, mentor, friends, people at church, school teacher, adults you trust.
    Parent or caregiver at home
    It's important to tell the person looking after you about how you are feeling.
    You can email us
    If you email us we will get back to you.
    Listen to other children
    Hear other children talking about what it is like for them
    Help lines
    You can ring these at any time if you live in New Zealand, and someone will be there to talk to you:

    • Kids Line (13 or younger) 0800 543-754
    • Youth Line (14 or older) 0800 376 633
    • What's Up 0800 942 878
    • Child Help Line (Monday to Friday 9am - 7.30pm) 0800 366 694
  • 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 quite sure.

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

  • Will my parent be different when they get out of prison?

    They may be different depending on how long they have been in prison. If it is a long time they will have to get used to living back home. They may have been given a chance to learn more about themselves and making good choices when they were in prison.

  • 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.

  • What do I tell my friends about my parent who is in prison?

    Check with your parent or caregiver at home to find out what they would like you to share. If you are worried about this you can talk to someone. There are phone numbers on the phone page.

    If you don’t want to share or you don’t know what your parent did wrong, you can let your friend know that you haven’t been told everything.

  • What if I am bullied because my parent is in prison?

    Talk to an adult at school who you trust, and tell your parent at home. It's not your fault your parent is in prison. If you are worried about this you can talk to someone. There are phone numbers on the phone page. Remember, real friends will stand by you no matter what.

  • Can I take my friend to visit my parent in prison?

    Only if my caregiver says that's OK.

    Your friend will need to get permission from the legal guardian that they live with. Then your parent in prison will need to arrange for the prison to send your friend’s guardian a form to fill out requesting a new visitor.

  • 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.