Thousands of children affected by parental imprisonment haven’t seen parents for a year

Date: 8th April 2021
Category: Children of prisoners

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Families Outside has highlighted new research into the impact of the pandemic on prison visits, calling for a clear roadmap for their reintroduction as Scotland emerges from lockdown.  

The research published by Dr Shona Minson at the University of Oxford has found that prior to the first lockdown, 96% of children with a parent in prison were visiting them regularly. Since lockdown restrictions were introduced, thousands of children have not seen their parents in prison for over a year.

Families Outside has called upon the Scottish Government to recognise the negative impact of this loss of contact on children and to take action to support family reunification and resettlement after imprisonment. The charity has asked for:

  • A clear roadmap for the justice system with the re-establishment of prison visits and the lifting of restrictions within prisons simultaneously with the lifting of restrictions across the rest of the community.
  • Stopping courts from remanding parents with dependent children in custody unless there is a compelling public safety reason.
  • Consideration whether parents in prison can be released early to serve the remainder of their sentence on licence.

To read the full Families Outside statement, click here.