New report highlights impact of maternal imprisonment on children

Date: 28th August 2018
Category: Children of prisoners


A new report released by the Prison Reform Trust and Families Outside has highlighted the impact of maternal imprisonment on children, including on their relationships with her, housing, education, health and wellbeing.

The report, entitled 'What about me? The impact on children when mothers are involved in the criminal justice system' is based on the work of the organisations across the UK. It is based on conversations with children and young people who have experienced having a mother in prison, mother in prison and on community orders, grandparents, and statutory and voluntary agencies supporting women and children. It also draws on available academic research.

One of the key findings of the report is that the views and best interests of children are rarely considered by the criminal justice system and they often face many barriers when getting support.

Other key findings include:

  • Only one in 20 children whose mother is sent to prison each year is able to stay in the family home. They may be placed with a number of different carers during their mother's sentence;
  • Many children face financial hardship and encounter significant disruption to their lives such as moving school and being separated from brothers and sisters;
  • Children experience a wide range of emotions as a result of their mother going to prison, including grief, trauma, and shame. The knock-on effects of stigmatisation may also lead to social isolation and discrimination.

The report includes comprehensive recommendations for the UK Government as well as a host of other stakeholders such as Children's Commissioners, Local Authorities, police, prison services and sentencers.

Read the report and full recommendations here