This week I continued working on a prospectus of an implementation guidance document for a recommendation passed in April of 2018 by the Council of Europe on the rights of children with imprisoned parents. I am now working on finding examples of good practice throughout Europe for each point in the document. This part of the project is testing my research skills. I am looking through other guidance documents previously prepared by my NGO, explanatory memos, and UN documents to find examples of how each of the 56 articles in the recommendation have been applied successfully throughout Europe. And just like at the university I have to pay attention to where my research comes from, as each example is accompanied by a uniformly formatted citation in the footnotes.
Also this past week, I had the unique opportunity to attend a meeting of a working group within the French justice department which is considering passing a regulation to create nurseries inside of every French prison for infants that are cohabitating with an imprisoned parent. Before starting my summer here in Paris I did not know that it was even possible for nursing infants to live in prison with their mothers. I have learned that it is something that only happens in exceptional circumstances where it is deemed to be in the best interests of the child to help foster an initial child parent bond. I was so lucky to be able to sit in the same room where experienced members of the French civil service were hashing out the finer details of the regulation. I never considered the line by line analysis of language and phrasing that goes into policy before it is implemented, moreover the meeting had 24 participants offering diverse perspectives from prison administrators to social psychologists to representatives of NGOs. It was truly a memorable experience.
Finally, this weekend my host family’s children and some children in the neighborhood had a tiny concert at the house. It was a modern day salon straight from 19thcentury France, right down to the Haussmann style architecture of the home and the assorted cheeses. My host family’s children played a variety of pieces on the piano, xylophone, and French horn and the children of neighbors played the violin and piano. The cutest moment was when a very little girl who had just learned the violin hesitantly came forward to play a simple piece; when she finished her face lit up at the applause from the small audience and she took seven bows. And speaking of salons I’m going to need a haircut soon. (also: pictured are the Republican Guard whose stables I can see through the window of my apartment)