Children with parents in prison gain new rights

Parents in prison web

The European guidelines have been welcomed by charity Families Outside 

12th April 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

New rights for children with parents in prison have been welcomed.

The Council of Europe has issued guidelines that will ensure that children with imprisoned parents are entitled to the same rights as other children, including regular contact with their parents, as long as it is in the child´s best interests.

Families Outside has said that the new guidance will encourage police not to arrest parents in front of their children, and will have a greater impact in ensuring young people can contact their parents.

Professor Nancy Loucks, chief executive of Families Outside, said: “We need to remember that children and families affected by imprisonment are innocent; they have not committed any crimes but are often penalised by association.

“They face significantly traumatic experiences including, in many cases, actually witnessing the arrest of their parent in their home environment. These types of experiences can lead to significant adverse childhood experiences that affect them throughout their lives and often cause long-term physical and mental illness.”

The charity has highlighted research which shows that prisoners who maintain contact with their families are up to six times less likely to reoffend. Up to 27,000 children in Scotland are thought to have a parent in prison.

The guidelines also recommend that children should be allowed to visit their imprisoned parent within a week following the arrest, and then on a regular basis, without interfering with the child´s life, such as school attendance.