IT WILL soon be easier for Northern families to spend time with a family member who is in prison.
The Christian Family Care centre at Risdon has received a $90,000 grant to build a one-bedroom house next to the prison complex, which will be let to families from remote areas of the state for as little as $10 a night.
Christian Family Care centre senior Pastor Norm Reed said the lack of designated visitor accommodation at the prison disadvantaged prisoners from the North and North-West of the state, whose families had to travel hours for a brief visit.
Pastor Reed said the cost of petrol alone often meant families could not afford to make the trip more than once a fortnight, compared with families that live in Hobart that may visit two to three times a week.
``One of the poorest sections of our society are inmates and their families,'' he said.
``Often what we see is grandparents bringing the children down for a visit.
``Many of the grandparents are pensioners, they have a small income, they get up at 4am sometimes to come down and then they visit for two hours and have to drive back again.''
Pastor Reed said regular visits with their family helped prisoners maintain their relationships and better integrate back into society when they are released.
``We want to make a very uncomfortable experience a little bit easier for these families,'' he said.
``Children should not be denied the opportunity to build the relationship with their parents.''
Construction on the house will start on Monday and it is expected to be completed by April.
The grant was one of 230 handed out by the Tasmanian Community Fund last year.
The fund distributes $5.5 million to Tasmanian community projects and charities each year.