Crest has published Children of Prisoners: Fixing a broken system, a report detailing the impact of parental imprisonment on children which makes policy recommendations for better responses to this cohort of children.
The report, which includes new modelling using up-to-date prison population records, has shown that there are 312,000 incidents per year of a child losing a parent to custody in England and Wales, 17,000 of which as a result of mothers being sent to prison. This revised estimate is a significant increase from the previously used figure of 200,000, based on imprisonment rates from 2008.
Crest takes a whole-system view, highlighting that during a parent’s journey through the criminal justice system there are numerous points which children of prisoners could be identified – on arrest, at sentencing, on entry to prison, and under probation supervision.
Crest makes 7 recommendations for change, all based on the premise that support for children of prisoners should occur as early as possible; take the form of whole family support; be flexible and targeted; and should last as long as necessary.
In the report, Crest calls for:
- A requirement for courts to notify the relevant local authority when a parent is sentenced to custody
- Development of joint protocols between local authorities, prisons and probation services to address the needs of prisoners’ families based on an assessment of the needs of the children
- Action on reform in line with the Farmer Review
Read the full report by Crest here.
Read the executive summary here.
- IPRT: ‘Picking up the pieces’: The Rights and Needs of Children and Families Affected by Imprisonment
- Unseen Unheard: Principles of Action for Children with a Parent in Prison
- MoJ: The Importance of Strengthening Prisoners' Family Ties to Prevent Reoffending and Reduce Intergenerational Crime (‘the Farmer Review’)