Briefing emphasises impact of parental imprisonment on children and young people

Date: 23rd May 2018
Category: Children of prisoners


New research has shown that children and young people affected by parental imprisonment often experience high levels of stigma, leading to feelings of isolation and judgement.

The research was undertaken by the University of Strathclyde and involved interviews with six children and young people who either had a parent who was serving a prison sentence or whose parent had served a sentence in the past.
Key findings of the research include:

  • Children and young people who experience parental imprisonment are often judged and isolated for an offence they did not commit;
  • Young people fear stigmatisation so much that they do not tell friends or classmates about their parent's imprisonment to avoid the risk of being bullied;
  • One of the most common challenges participants faced was having to 'grow up too fast';

The briefing emphasises that there must be more attention in policy and practice to address children's feelings of stigma and isolation and that maintaining relationships between children and someone who they trust is essential in them building resilience.

The briefing notes that:

  • Regular contact with an imprisoned parent, where appropriate, is a crucial element for maintaining children and young people's emotional wellbeing;
  • More could be done to educate society about how to support someone who is going through parental imprisonment;
  • Efforts should be made to listen to children and young people with experience of parental imprisonment.

  • Read the full briefing here.