Charity gives support to prison families

Jail

Children suffer more than adults when family members go to prison 

10th June 2019 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Support for families of released prisoners has been offered by a new service run by a leading children’s charity.

Aberlour Child Care Trust, has launched a new family support service delivered in partnership with the Scottish Prison Service and NHS Dumfries and Galloway Alcohol & Drugs Partnership to help family members returning from prison re-integrate back into family life.

Around 27,000 children in Scotland are affected by a parent going into prison every year, around double the number of children affected by divorce.

Research also shows that having a parent or family member in prison can have a serious impact on a child’s wellbeing and mental health, which can often be displayed through anti-social behaviour.

Funded by the Scottish Government Challenge Fund, the new Aberlour Families2gether support service will work with short-term prisoners at HMP Dumfries whose sentence is less than four years, those on remand, and those on a Home Detention Curfew from 12 weeks prior to their release and during the first six months after release to help ease the crucial process of integrating back into the family home. 

David Barr, Associate Director at Families2gether, Aberlour Child Care Trust, comments: “At Aberlour, we believe that every child should have the same opportunities and experiences in life, no matter their family situation. We understand that an absent family member can severely affect children’s mental health and emotional wellbeing. The key focus of Families2gether is to help bring families back together and rebuild a safe and welcoming family home.” 

Transitioning from prison back into family life can have a major emotional strain on the whole family, and during this extremely vulnerable period, having a parent return from prison back into the family home can lead to a break-down of family relationships. Studies show that by ensuring ex-offenders have meaningful contact with their families prior to release, they are six times less likely to re-offend.

Stuart Pomfret for Scottish Prison Support Service, added: “The Scottish Prison Service is committed to supporting people leaving our care and returning to their communities and their families. Successful transition involves support being offered to families throughout an individual's time in custody and on their release.

"We recognise that such positive relationships can make a valuable contribution in supporting offenders to desist from further offending."