Inside Fatherhood is our report on fathers in prison. More than 125,000 children are affected annually by paternal incarceration and this report finds that they are seriously failed by the prison service.
Reoffending drops by up to six times, if imprisoned fathers stay in touch with their families (‘Family Ties and Recidivism’, Home Office Research Bulletin 36) and their children are also less likely to commit crimes. Yet prison practice makes it difficult to maintain links.
There are no standard arrangements for imprisoned fathers to attend the birth of their child or to see their new born child
49 out of 139 prisons still have no visitors’ centre
11,000 prisoners are held more than 100 miles from home
Many prisons have no officer responsible for dealing with prisoners’ families
Information about fatherhood and family responsibilities is not routinely recorded by prison staff
Parental status is rarely considered in relation to fathers at sentencing.
Regular telephone contact between fathers and children is difficult because prison wages often fund only enough time for conversations with partners.
Half of young fathers receive no visits from their children.
The study, entitled Inside Fatherhood, was commissioned by the DfES’ Offenders’ Learning and Skills Unit. It reports that many children find it difficult to cope when dad is jailed, facing bullying, stigmatisation, confusion, insecurity, poverty and loneliness in the absence of their dads. One in three witness their fathers’ arrest. More than half of sons go on to be convicted of offences by the age of 32.
The report highlights good practice, particularly in the development of fatherhood courses in Young Offender Institutions, where 25 per cent of men are, or expect shortly to become, fathers, a figure that is six times higher than the average for this age group.
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This publication is also available free for all attendees at our Regional Roundtables for Developing Father-Inclusive Services. Click here for more information.Imprisoned fathers