In 2002, whilst working as a volunteer in HMP Channings Wood, Sharon Berry began to realise how difficult it was for imprisoned parents to keep in touch with their children. She helped the Writer in Residence develop the Storybook Dads idea. Sharon moved to HMP Dartmoor and introduced the scheme there, recording prisoners on the wings and editing the stories from home.

It proved so popular that the Governor gave her a prison cell to work from and allowed her to employ a couple of prisoners to help with the editing. Other prisons heard about Storybook Dads and wanted to implement the project too. In order to attract some much needed funding, Sharon started the Storybook Dads charity in 2003.

The Governor of HMP Dartmoor gave Storybook Dads an empty classroom to work from and soon Storybook Dads in Dartmoor were providing an editing service for several other prisons. Sharon also began training other prisons to set up their own editing suite and replicate the project.

The prison gave the team in Dartmoor some new offices which were officially opened by Princess Anne in 2007. In 2006 Storybook Dads in Dartmoor began making story DVDs as well as CDs and this popular add-on is gaining in popularity in prisons across the UK. They also started to facilitate Storywriting workshops and deliver training to the Armed Forces.

Storybook Dads also started to employ selected ex-prisoners as home editors upon release and have so far employed 20 on short term contracts to help them get back on the road to a crime-free life. In 2013 the Me and My Dad project was introduced which is gradually being disseminated throughout the prison estate. In 2015, the Storybook Dads HQ moved to HMP Channings Wood due to the inevitable closure of HMP Dartmoor. In 2016, Storybook Dads increased their work party to eighteen.

Sharon's Story

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