Irish Penal Reform Trust

UK: Crest publishes ‘Children of Prisoners: Fixing a broken system’

19th March 2019

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

Related:

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

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