Guest Post by Zoe

(Source: Unsplash)

I decided to enrol in the Honours degree of criminology last year. At that time, I never expected that within a few months I would be touring Port Augusta Prison with Andrew. Not only that, but I supplied incarcerated fathers with books donated from the small children’s bookshop I work at.

In planning my thesis, I knew I somehow wanted to combine my work with children’s literature into my research project. While the idea seemed achievable, it became possible when Andrew approached the bookshop about the Magnolia Project. The Magnolia Project helped me to form my thesis plan.

My honours research

This year, I am undertaking a yearlong research journey focusing on the Magnolia Project’s work at Port Augusta Prison. I will interview key stakeholders and prison personnel who work closely with the Magnolia Book project. I aim to gain insights on the role and impact of prison-based parenting programs. This incredible opportunity means I can explore such an interesting topic. Additionally, this research gives me the chance to meet and gain insights from amazing people. People who work in the field that I someday hope to be a part of.

The Magnolia Project’s work and its outcomes is exciting! I am exceedingly excited about the research I will be undertaking. So too are my manager and the book publishers involved. We are thrilled that someone has recognised the importance and impact that children’s books can make when they are used in a positive and learning-based manner.

While I am at the beginning of the extensive research process, the Port Augusta Prison trip provided me with a solid foundation of information to build from. As I had never been inside a prison before, touring the prison was not something I knew how to prepare for. While slightly overwhelmed, I found the day incredibly insightful and provided me with the rare opportunity to see how prisons function.

Zoe at Port August Prison.

The astounding knowledge and passion that the staff displayed demonstrated a side to the prison environment that I was not expecting. I heard the staff discuss the book project with such excitement. They talked about how it provides fathers with the opportunity to gift their children books. The Magnolia Project also provides an opportunity for the fathers to make steps in all the right directions. Together this provided me with a sense of how much an impact this project can make.