On July 20th, the Spazio Giallo will be inaugurated within the Matera prison: it is an reception path created by the association Bambinisenzasbarre, which supports children in orienting themselves and mitigates the impact of a potentially traumatic environment. The project is supported by Enel Cuore, the non-profit organization of the Enel Group, which is actively engaged in supporting initiatives that protect the needs of those living in conditions of vulnerability and social distress. The Yellow Space will be available for approximately 100 minors who enter the Matera prison every year to meet their fathers, considering that it addresses the needs of 100,000 children with a parent in detention in Italy and 2 million in Europe.
The Spazio Giallo is a physical and relational place for children inside the prison. Here, operators can identify their needs, welcome them in a dedicated space where they prepare for the meeting with their parent, and provide support to the entire family unit, with a primary focus on the child.
The Yellow Space, which originated in Milan in 2007, has become a model and is now active in a national network in Lombardy, Piedmont, Marche, Tuscany, Campania, Puglia, Calabria, and Sicily. The Yellow Space in Matera is the first one opened in the Basilicata region.
The creation of the Yellow Space aligns with Article 2 of the Charter of Rights of Children of Imprisoned Parents. The Charter was first signed on March 21, 2014, and has been repeatedly renewed by the Authority for the Protection of Children and Adolescents, the Minister of Justice, and the President of Bambinisenzasbarre. It is a unique document that formally recognizes the right of these children to maintain an emotional bond with their incarcerated parent, in continuity with Article 9 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. At the same time, it reaffirms the right to parenthood of incarcerated individuals and commits the penitentiary system to a culture of inclusion that recognizes and takes into account the presence of children who encounter the prison against their will. To strengthen the impact of the Charter, and the role of the Association at the Italian and European levels, the CM/Rec (2018)5 Recommendation was adopted in April 2018 by the Council of Europe and addressed to the Committee of Ministers of the 46 member states. The Recommendation has taken the Italian Charter as its model.
"Italy is the first country to sign this Charter" says Lia Sacerdote, president of the association. "This strong commitment, through a signature and a significant symbol, has transformed the needs of these minors into rights, allowing them to no longer feel guilty and counteracting the social marginalization they face."