Irish Penal Reform Trust

Children of Prisoners

Children and families coping with imprisonment are often described as the ‘hidden’ victims of the penal system because they must endure their own sentence, despite not having perpetrated any crime. There are a variety of ways in which children and families can be affected by imprisonment including: disruption to child care arrangements, relationship breakdowns, financial loss and stigmatisation.

IPRT is concerned at the lack of data gathered on the current situation of children with a parent in prison in Ireland. Data would increase the current knowledge base on the issues of children with a parent in prison in Ireland and enable appropriate service provision. IPRT continues to works towards the recognition and support of the rights and needs of children and families affected by imprisonment through research, advocacy, and awareness-raising activities.

Please note this section contains information about advocacy and developments, both national and international. Practical information for prisoners and their families is available here.

Children and Families of People in Prison - report launch

19th November 2012

IPRT launched a comprehensive report on the rights and needs of children and families of people in prison on 19th Nov 2012. The Ombudsman for Children, Emily Logan, will launch the report.

"Picking Up the Pieces": The Rights and Needs of Children and Families Affected by Imprisonment

19th November 2012

This IPRT research report details the rights, needs and experiences of families and children of prisoners. It follows extensive consultations with children, families, support services and relevant agencies.

Launch: New Research Report on Children and Families of Prisoners

16th November 2012

IPRT will publish a new comprehensive report on the rights and needs of children and families of prisoners on Monday, 19th November 2012. It is the culmination of six months' research, including consultations with families and children of prisoners, along with service providers and agencies.

The role of schools in supporting families affected by imprisonment

22nd October 2012

A report has been published by Scottish charity 'Families Outside' on the role which schools may have in supporting those families affected by imprisonment.

Irish Times: Parents behind bars

18th May 2010

As Ireland’s prison population grows, more children are having to cope with the stigma and loneliness of a parent in jail, writes Sheila Wayman in 'The Irish Times'.

Orphans of Justice: A Legal Analysis

23rd September 2009

Subtitled "In search of the best interests of the child when a parent is imprisoned", this paper analyses the approach of courts in a number of jurisdictions.

Impact of Parental Imprisonment on Children

28th June 2002

The Centre for Social and Educational Research, DIT, released a report investigating the effects of parental imprisonment on children. Despite the fact that those directly affected by imprisonment far exceed the number of those who are actually serving custodial sentences the topic has to date received little formal attention in Ireland.

Respect for rights in the penal system with prison as a last resort.

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