German project ‘inside meets outside’

In Germany – Inside prison meets outside prison in Cologne

Much has happened in 2015 in the visitors area of Cologne prison.

It has become a much more child-friendly space with creative work inside and outside prison.

Morning Tears and Theresa from Alanus Hochschule, Bonn, and Diana Dauer from University Cologne were the driving force behind the second phase of the project “Room to Bond”. They created the new phase “Inside meets Outside” and in this project phase we have been especially focusing on participation of incarcerated parents.

Outside – the sad sight of the tram shelter is transforming with colourful wooden seats. Inmates crafted them in the prison’s carpenter workshop and they now greet the waiting children with cheerful colours!

Inside – the long-time family visiting space did get a big face-lift. It now provides a much better atmosphere to meet and bond with more welcoming wall colours. And in the carpenter workshop a variety of wooden toys have been created: wooden bricks to build for the children. Wooden cars were a hit with the female inmates who crafted them, they were very keen to do many of those for their children.

The long time family visitor room caters especially to children from age 0-5 and therefore also the educational toys that are now fixed on the walls offer a good chance of play and interaction between parents and children.

Several large paintings are changing the atmosphere of the other visitor rooms and create a better environment for more harmonious meetings and talk.

One very special part of this project involved prisoners to show their world inside prison to the outside – children often ask, how daddy or mommy live inside prison. With these pictures now they can see it. Many little impressions were taken with disposable cameras and are crafted into a mosaik picture – showing the outside world how it is, inside the prison world and supporting the bond between the children outside and the parent inside.

And a beautiful work of art in participation of inside and outside artists.

If you want to learn more about this project or if you are interested to create such improved visitor rooms in a prison in your region, contact Uschi at We are happy to explain the effects of this interdisciplinary project and all its work stages in detail.

The second phase of this project, which was initiated by BAG-S in Bonn, has been made possible with support from KRASS e.V. and Montag Stiftung.

Theresa and Diana  tram station 1 visitor room wooden toys family long visit visitor room wooden toysMosaic