We record imprisoned parents reading books to their children and send the recording and book to the child.
“When a mother goes to prison, usually it is her children who suffer most … maternal imprisonment affects future generations because children’s psychological health and sense of family is severely damaged by the separation from their mothers.”
Companions Journeying Together staff and trained volunteers bring into the jail or prison a selection of brand new books, along with audio recorders. They assist participating parents in choosing an age-appropriate book for each one of their children. Each of the participants are then given an opportunity to record him or herself reading the books for their children. If the participant wishes, he or she may end with a message of love to the children and thanks to the caregiver. On behalf of the parent, we then send the books and CD to the caregiver to give to the children.
The Aunt Mary’s Storybook Project (“AMSB”) was started by Companions in 1993 as a Christmas project for the children of women incarcerated at Cook County Jail in Chicago, Illinois. It has since become a year-round program and has served as a model for similar programs in over 20 states.
The Aunt Mary’s Storybook Project currently works with the following institutions:
Cook County Jail – Chicago, Illinois
DeKalb County Jail – Sycamore, Illinois
DuPage County Jail – Wheaton, Illinois
Kane County Jail – St. Charles, Illinois
Kendall County Jail – Yorkville, Illinois
Randolph County Jail – Chester, Illinois
Will County Jail – Joliet, Illinois
Centralia Correctional Center – Centralia, Illinois
Hill Correctional Center – Galesburg, Illinois
Illinois River Correctional Center – Canton, Illinois
Kewanee Life Skills Re-Entry Center – Kewanee, Illinois
Menard Correctional Center – Chester, Illinois
Menard Correctional Center Medium Security Unit – Chester, Illinois
Sheridan Correctional Center – Sheridan, Illinois
Vandalia Correctional Center – Vandalia, Illinois
Western Illinois Correctional Center – Mt. Sterling, Illinois