Irish Penal Reform Trust

UK: Family Connections

16th December 2016

The Prison Reform Trust UK, in collaboration with the ICPR and the University of Birkbeck in London have released a report on the importance of family relations to prisoners on their release into the community.

The report by the Prison Reform Trust UK was commissioned as part of a series by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. The maintenance of family relationships has an important effect on the prisoner, with those who do not maintain these relationships shown to be more likely to reoffend. The report also shows the benefits of maintaining these relationships for the prisoners’ children and other family members.

Key Findings from the report are:

  • Efforts to maintain relationships between prisoners and their families should begin from the start of a prisoner’s sentence;
  • The arts can be effective in helping prisoners to maintain bonds with their children and family;
  • The use of initiatives like ‘graduations’ to mark the successful completion of programmes in prison can help prisoners’ to raise their self-worth and have their achievements recognised by their peers and family;
  • Visitations are vital to the maintenance of family relationships, and extended visits of a few hours to a few days can provide opportunities for prisoners to spend quality time with their families. Recognition should be given to the trauma that can be caused to a child by their parents’ incarceration;
  • Efforts to support children and their caregivers to maintain relationships with their imprisoned parents and which help to reduce the shame and stigma they face are necessary. Schools can play an important role in supporting this.

To read the full report click here

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



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