Community Radio Network reuniting families over Christmas

Katrina Hughes, 16th December 2019
Did you know 40,000 children wake up on Christmas morning with at least one parent in jail?

Christmas can be a hard time for estranged families, let alone families physically separated over the holidays. 

With this in mind the producer of Jailbreak, Kate Pinnock of the Community Restorative Centre, has teamed up with Karen Anstiss, the Coordinator of the Mothering at a Distance Project for Corrective Services New South Wales (a positive parenting program which aims to strengthen the connection between inmate mothers and their children) to present a special Christmas broadcast, focussing on sharing messages from mothers who are separated from their families due to incarceration over this festive season, who make up 17% of all incarcerated people in NSW.

Both Kate and Karen have travelled across the state visiting women in facilities such as Dillwynia Women’s Prison, Silverwater Correctional Centre, Mary Wade Correctional Centre, Emu Plains Correctional Centre, Miruma Women’s Prison, Mid-North Coast Correctional Centre, Grafton Correctional Centre, Berrima Correctional Centre and Wellington Correctional Centre.

Reflecting on this mammoth task, Karen said, 

“Kate and I spent three weeks travelling across the State visiting women's Correctional Centres - every centre took us up on the offer of recording the Christmas messages. The women were so grateful for the opportunity to record this gift for their children”. 

Kate and Karen managed to record in excess of 100 women, mothers that have been brave and strong in putting up their hands and 'having a go'. Working on their words through tears and tissues, they have shared their experiences of life on the inside, as well as what it feels like to be separated from their children.

Jailbreak is a health project that aims to encourage inmates to work creatively and together to share their stories, and help reform them through education, training and connecting with others.

CBAA's Community Radio Network (CRN) are incredibly proud to be providing the broadcast to all CRN subscriber stations, and hope that more of our members would be enthusiastic to get on board with the broadcast, particularly if one of these correctional centres are in their local area.

This special broadcast is a first for many things, but because of this collaboration, women incarcerated all over the country will be able to hear the Christmas special on December 25th in their Correctional Centre, including the Women of Broken Hill Correctional Centre, who will be hearing it on Christmas Day for the very first year. Families in these communities will also be able to hear it, thanks to their local Community Radio Station. 

This will also be the first time Jailbreak has produced for kids with a Mum or Dad in jail, this is the first time that the Christmas special has worked & been produced alongside CSNSW, and it's very first time it has been national on Community Radio on Christmas Day itself.

Additionally, it is the longest program Jailbreak has ever produced due to the popularity of the project with Women in the centres.

For all the Families who can't access the broadcast, the mangaer and Audio-Visual Multimedia Unit at CSNSW are burning 200 CD's to be sent to participants this week, so they will be able to hear their loved ones on Christmas Day. 

All of this makes it incredibly worthwhile for the CBAA to support, but it also makes this a really meaningful special broadcast to be involved with.

For more information about the special, or to discuss ways to access it, get in touch with CBAA's CRN.


Artwork by Leanne Pope, Wiradjuri Artist. This artwork shows the strong connection between mother and child in times of dependancy. 

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Australia’s only live prison radio broadcasts, giving a voice to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander inmates.


Beyond the Bars is a 3CR community project designed to give indigenous prisoners a voice.


On Sunday 2nd September, tune in from 13:00 EST for a set from Melbourne’s purveyors of bone shaking country blues Graveyard Train, all from the Visitor’s Centre at Port Phillip Correction centre in Laverton, with PBS' Claire Stuchbery hosting proceedings.