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Prison Dads

Wed Mar 27, 9-10pm, BBC3

BBC3’s Baby Britain season has been largely characterised as depressing subjects with uplifting stories. ‘Prison Dads’ has buckets of the former, and very little of the latter. At HMYOI Glen Parva in Leicester, some 800 prisoners aged 18 to 21 are locked up for varying drug and/or drink related crimes, many of them violent.

This film, shot over six months, talks to a number of the young dads in their number, as well as their ‘baby mums’, who talk about their ‘soft sides’, ‘being a family’, and daddy being on ‘naughty holiday’. The boys talk about lost opportunities and how their lives could have been, but there’s little sense of them making plans for the reality of their lives outside prison, or of anyone committing to helping any of these traumatised young parents face a hopeful future rather than a bleak one of reoffending, further violence and the barest connection with their children.

It’s not all doom and gloom – one young couple look determined to make things work – but, as one of the warders puts it, ‘children having children’ can be fraught with problems.



I cringed when I watched Max's weekend home visit.It was obviously a very difficult time for both of them,but the girlfriend seemed to make it as awkward as possible.Every sentence was a petty criticism or putdown when the poor guy was clearly trying desperately to be as kind,gentle and devoted as he could in the circumstances.What chance has he of help and support from her when he is finally released? It is a great pity,as he seemed quite different from the other prison dads.He was intelligent,articulate,genuinely sorry for what he had done,and had obviously made full use of every opportunity to improve and better himself while in prison.