Also operating in

women's prisons

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I even produced promotional DVDs for other prison departments and for outside organisations. I also trained other inmates, staff and representatives from other prisons and the Armed Forces. That was back in 2008 and now I have a future in front of me that I could only have dreamed of. I never thought that I would be anything other than a manual worker; maybe a builder or decorator. But being part of Storybook Dads  made me believe that you can do anything if you put your mind to it. Not only did they give me computer skills but also a renewed vigour and confidence (which I admit was waning). The support that the team gave us was priceless. You’re made to feel that you work alongside them rather than for them. It gives you a sense of responsibility and normality which helps in the planning for a life outside of prison. A life that doesn’t involve ending up back inside. If you ask me who I am, I no longer reply “A criminal. One of life’s screw-ups - just existing day to day, and in no real rush to get out of prison because I can’t function on the outside”. I’ll tell you now who I am; I am a father, an artist, an editor and producer, a teacher and a friend. I am all of these and more. That’s what I have found out about myself these last years with the help of the team at Storybook Dads. They even arranged for me to get into college on day-release from prison.

 

Once I’m released I want to go to college to get my Art Diploma. It’s fair to say these last few years have changed my life because I’ve realised that people care. It has been a long, hard, but enlightening journey to get to this point. I’ve left Dartmoor now and am in an open prison where they also operate Storybook Dads so I have been training staff and inmates in editing and production. It was sad to leave Dartmoor as it felt like leaving an extended family, but I know I’ll still have their support and friendship for a long time.




Storybook Dads is a registered charity in England and Wales. Charity Registration No. 1101208

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Prisoner’s Stories: Billy

When I arrived in Dartmoor I certainly wasn’t looking to make any friends or do any more education courses – I just wanted to keep my head down and get through my sentence. That changed when I met another prisoner who worked for Storybook Dads. He raved on about the wonderful things that happened there and said that they were looking for new editors. Well, he had my attention until he told me that the work was done on computers. Then I switched off as I’d only used a computer for games (and even then I had to get somebody else to show which keys to press). Editing stories and making CDs seemed way out of my league. But I was intrigued and went to investigate. t was a new beginning for me. Very soon I was filming, editing and  producing DVDs.