Study points to contact benefits

About 125,000 children are believed to be affected by the
imprisonment of a family member, according to a report by the
charity Young Voice this week.

The report says that, despite research showing that the closer
prisoners are kept to their families the greater the chance of
reform, more than 11,000 prisoners are held more than 100 miles
away from home. A further 25,000 offenders are held 50 miles from

More than half of the men and three-quarters of the women aged 22
or under interviewed by the charity were parents. One in five
prison mothers said they did not want their child to see them in

“The young fathers are looking forward, many with surprising and
perhaps unrealistic confidence, to becoming a responsible father
when they are released,” the report says. “The mothers in prison,
most often addicts, have more or less given up.”

The research highlights the importance of the family to the welfare
of the prisoner and to their behaviour when they return to

The report urges improved prisoner-family contact. It calls for
visitor centres to be operational during times that suit families’
needs, better information for families immediately after sentencing
and improved notification for families when prisoners are

– Parenting under Pressure from 020 8979 4991 or

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