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Play in prisons

In Scotland alone, there is an estimated 20,000 children affected by family member imprisonment.  You are more likely to experience a parent’s imprisonment than a parent’s divorce and a child with a parent in prison is more likely to experience mental health problems in later life.

View statistics or for support visit the Families Outside website. It is these shocking statistics that has prompted the Play and Early and Intervention Team to offer support to local families.

The Play and Early Intervention Team are represented on the Family Strategy Group within Her Majesty's Prison (HMP) in Kilmarnock which helps to identify key areas of improvement and positive partnership opportunities in the delivery of services for the prisoner and their families.  The team support and deliver family based initiatives within and outwith the prison through the following Big Lottery Funded projects.

Play and bonding sessions

Sessions allow standard and enhanced prisoners to spend quality play time with their family. The sessions use play as a medium to increase interaction and improve relationships between prisoners and their families. These informal, relaxed sessions provide free play activities for the prisoner to connect with their families.

Family bookshare

This allows prisoners to maintain meaningful connections with their children whilst in prison. The prisoners have the opportunity to work on their reading skills and confidence with reading aloud. They choose age and stage appropriate books and record the story onto a CD which is sent home; which helps maintain the family bond.


Events take place during school holiday periods. These are larger in scale and take place in a more relaxed and less intimidating environment for the families. They are planned taking into consideration time of year such as Easter. Visit our events page to find what's on and when.

Play and parenting programme for dads

This is a six week programme focusing on building dad’s parenting skills, knowledge of play and child development which is run within the prison and culminates in a small family event that the prisoners organise and deliver to their families themselves.

Play@home service

This is similar to our community Play@Home Service but with a more specific remit for families affected by imprisonment and there is also the opportunity for post-liberation support. Download our Play in Prison booklet for more information.

Contact Information


Vibrant Communities
Telephone: 01563 576354
Telephone: 01563 578124
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