Inmate's child's story wows Rotorua conference

A 12-year-old girl from Washington DC stole the show at an inaugural conference for Incarcerated Parents in Rotorua today. Madison Strempek spoke of her journey as a child of a prisoner.

Madison Strempek wants to share her experience with children like her in NZ.

The 12-year-old has published a book about how she was affected when her father went to jail.

Madison Strempek (INCCIP) says, “There are other people going through the same thing that you are and that there really are people that will listen to what you have to say and help you get through it.”

According to Pillars an organisation who supports children of prisoners, more than 20,000 children in NZ has a parent in prison.  Barry Bublitz who works with affected families believes the solutions can come from the children themselves.  

Barry Bublitz (Ngaitai ki Tamaki, Ngāti Kohua) says, “That is what we need to guide us, a reference team of young people so we can hear their voice.”

Professor Tracey McIntosh of Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga has found other solutions through her research.

Tracey McIntosh (Ngāi Tūhoe) says, “It's about listening particular to young wahine who is in prison and a lot of the men who have exited the prison or are still tuning through the system.”

19 countries are participating at this week’s conference which ends on Thursday.