Children and families coping with imprisonment are often described as the ‘hidden’ victims of the penal system because they must endure their own sentence, despite not having perpetrated any crime. There are a variety of ways in which children and families can be affected by imprisonment including: disruption to child care arrangements, relationship breakdowns, financial loss and stigmatisation.
IPRT works towards the recognition and support of the rights and needs of children and families affected by imprisonment through research, advocacy, and awareness-raising activities. This includes an exciting three-year project (commenced in mid-2020) on families of prisoners, aiming to reduce harm for children and families affected by imprisonment, with a particular focus on reducing female imprisonment. We’re very grateful to our funders, Katharine Howard Foundation and St Stephen’s Green Trust, for supporting such a timely piece of work.
Please note this section contains information about advocacy and developments, both national and international. Practical information for prisoners and their families is available here.
20th July 2021
The Northern Ireland Prison Service (NIPS) has re-introduced contact between parents and children under 11. This follows the resumption of in-person prison visits in Northern Ireland on 4 May.
15th July 2021
Piecing It Together: Supporting Children and Families with a Family Member in Prison in Ireland assesses progress on a series of recommendations made by IPRT in "Picking up the Pieces" in 2012.
15th July 2021
'Piecing it Together' was launched by Ombudsman for Children, Dr. Niall Muldoon, virtually on 15 July 2021.
15th July 2021
MEDIA ADVISORY: New report on children and families with a family member in prison in Ireland highlights a number of significant gaps in their treatment.
22nd June 2021
*This survey is closed.* Do/have you had a family member in prison in Ireland during COVID-19? We'd like to hear from you!
18th May 2021
The Joint Committee on Human Rights has submitted a series of proposed amendments to legislation that would amplify the rights of children of parents facing custodial sentences.
15th March 2021
A new report by Dr. Shona Minson at the Centre for Criminology at the University of Oxford draws on research undertaken during the first national lockdown and highlights issues faced by children whose parents were in prison during that time.
10th September 2020
IPRT conducted a small-scale survey of people with a family member in prison in Ireland during COVID-19 restrictions in late July/early August. We hope the results of this survey will go some way towards raising awareness of the issues faced by children and families with a relative in prison among the public.
14th August 2020
On 14th August, IPRT and UCC hosted the first meeting of a network designed to bring about positive sustained change for children and families affected by imprisonment. We were delighted to welcome Vice President of Children of Prisoners Europe, Rachel Brett, to speak about advocy in this area.
24th July 2020
*This survey is closed.* This survey aims to help the Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) get a sense of how COVID-19 restrictions have impacted/are impacting families of prisoners in Ireland. The survey closes on Thursday 13th August 2020.