New report: An unfair sentence. All Babies Count

Category: Children of prisoners

15th November 2014

An unfair sentence. All Babies Count: Spotlight on the criminal justice system is a new report launched by Barnardo's and NSPCC on the developmental importance of pregnancy and infancy.

The report is the third in a series of NSPCC spotlight reviews and was launched at a joint fringe meeting at the SNP party conference on 15th November 2014.

The report highlights:
- what is known about babies affected by parental involvement in the criminal justice system;
- which services and interventions are effective or show promise in helping create a safer and more nurturing environment for infants;
- what can be done to improve policy and practice in this area.

The report calls for:
- the UK and devolved governments to formally identify infants affected by the criminal justice system as a specific vulnerable group so that their needs are prioritised;
- Child Impact Assessments to be carried out after parents are sentenced;
- Clear National Frameworks of outcomes and standards for babies affected by the criminal justice system;
- The co-ordination of services and policy integration for those working with these families, including mainstream universal early years, parenting, family support services and local offender management services;
- Evidence based parenting support focused on the needs of infants.

Download the report here.

In its 2008 Concluding Observations to the UK, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that support is ensured to children with one or both parents in prison, in particular to maintain contact with the parent(s) (unless this is contrary to their best interests) and to prevent their stigmatisation and discrimination against them.

In its 2014 State of Children's Rights report, Together makes a number of recommendations with regards to this Concluding Observation, including that the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill should include provisions to ensure the best interests of the child is taken into consideration when holding, arresting, interviewing or charging a family member or carer.

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