Dear Prisoners Families Voices. First and foremost congratulations on your shortlisting for an award. I read the featured stories frequently.
I would like to cover a topic that has raised its ugly head again and that is the issue on the negative affect newspapers can have on innocent families and children of those prosecuted for committing crime.
Whilst crime reporting is in the interest of the general public, I feel that publishing addresses of criminals and allowing comments on on line threads is welcoming bullying and repercussions for innocent people and children. I am not saying that newspapers are the only source of finding out information but they play a big part in it; especially nowadays where people share links on social media sites. Newspaper stories don't just stay as 'tomorrows chip wrapping paper' anymore and the Internet made sure of that. I too went through a particular bad time courtesy of a local rag. The story wasn't forgotten about and continued to be tomorrows story and the day after and the day after that. Facebook made sure it stayed in the public eye. I honestly don't mind people having an opinion but when they target the families and children of the criminal; I take issue with it. As families of prisoners we all have our own different circumstances and everyone in this situation has their own take on what it's like and how to overcome it. For example, I don't agree with 'no contact' but I agree with boundaries involving sending money to prisoners who use drugs in prison and want the money to buy drugs in prison. The prisons should come down hard and change the rules on prisoners having money sent in but thats just my two pence worth on that issue.
Back to the newspaper issue. To be fair it goes beyond local rags and enters in to the social media public courts. People will always leave insulting comments because they aren't educated on certain situations that life throws at us. It's a difficult one. As for bullying in schools; kids who bully should be excluded if there is sufficient evidence.