‘Young parents need more family contact’

    Young parents in prison should have more family contact to
    prevent their children from becoming the next generation of
    criminals, says a report by the Prison Reform Trust.

    “We need to make sure today’s sons and daughters of prisoners
    don’t end up tomorrow’s offenders”, Cherie Booth QC writes in the
    report’s foreword.

    The report says prisoners are being placed further away from
    home because of increasing prison overcrowding, despite the Home
    Office saying that good family contact reduces reoffending.

    About 150,000 children have a parent in prison, and nearly
    25,000 prisoners are held more than 50 miles from their home town,
    says the report. Home Office research says a quarter of young
    offenders are fathers and 39 per cent of female young offenders are
    mothers.

    “It is not smart to put young parents in jail if this results in
    them losing their homes and their children being taken into care,”
    said spokeperson for the trust Helen Atwell.

    “Society is better served by low level offenders serving their
    punishment in the community.”

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