Author writing for 'prisoner kids' to read with jailed parents says 'reconnecting' cuts reoffending

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An author who's helping prisoners with children break the cycle of reoffending says if they can reconnect inside there's a good chance they won't end up back in jail.

Tommy Kapai used to work with stars like Nicole Kidman, but is now helping families in need.
Source: Seven Sharp

Seven Sharp reports that Tommy Kapai used to be butler to the rich and famous, like Nicole Kidman and George Harrison, and the King and Queen of Spain.

But he went home to Tauranga and, among other things, set up Te Tuinga Whanau Trust, helping people who need help getting on track.

Mr Kapai has written what he thinks is his "book number 30" and says it's all about kids who have a parent in prison. 

The book, called When Daddy Comes Home, is written for children to read with their parents while they're still locked up, so that when daddy does come home, he stays home and puts whanau first.

There are 20,000 so-called 'prisoner kids' around New Zealand who have a parent behind bars.

"If we can reconnect inside prison, there's a 40 per cent chance they won't go back to prison. That's a really good stat," Mr Kapai said.

"It's a long road back. And there's only one way back, I believe, and that's through the whanau," he said.

I'm just trying to get on with it and look after my kids"
Bruce French, father and former inmate

When gang member Bruce French was locked up for cooking methamphetamine, his eldest son, now grown up in Australia, missed out on having his dad in his life.

A teary phone call from the-then two-year-old left Mr French crying in his cell and vowing to change.

Now home, his tamariki come first, and reading Mr Kapai's words has been a big help.

"I'm just trying to get on with it and look after my kids, and make sure their future is brighter and better than mine," Mr French said.

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