Irish Penal Reform Trust

Children of Prisoners

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. You can read more about the network of organisations working in the area set up under the project on

Please note this section contains information about advocacy and developments, both national and international. Practical information for prisoners and their families is available here.

Children of Prisoners: Not My Crime, Still My Sentence

2nd June 2015

The 2015 Children of Prisoners Europe June campaign, “Not my crime, still my sentence”, aims to inform, raise awareness about and draw attention to the rights and needs of children separated from a parent in prison.

Launch of the European Journal of Parental Imprisonment

27th March 2015

A new journal to examine the issues relating to children affected by parental imprisonment

Scotland: Support for Children (Impact of Parental Imprisonment) (Scotland) Bill

19th February 2015

Labour MSP Mary Fee has launched a Bill to support the children of prisoners

UCC: Changing Mindsets, Changing Minds: Conference on the Rights of Children of Offenders

5th December 2014

UCC School of Law are hosting a one day international Conference of an interdisciplinary nature highlighting the rights of children affected by family imprisonment.

UK: Report published on community services for children with a parent in prison

4th June 2013

Barnardo’s has published a report on two pilot community services working with children and families with a parent in prison, which it ran in Bristol and Devon from 2010-2011.

Roundup: Reactions to Report on Children and Families of Prisoners

20th November 2012

A roundup of media reactions and discussions on issues raised in a new IPRT report, '"Picking Up the Pieces": The rights and Needs of Children and Families Affected by Imprisonment.'

"Picking Up the Pieces": The Rights and Needs of Children and Families Affected by Imprisonment

19th November 2012

This IPRT research report details the rights, needs and experiences of families and children of prisoners. It follows extensive consultations with children, families, support services and relevant agencies.

Children and Families of People in Prison - report launch

19th November 2012

IPRT launched a comprehensive report on the rights and needs of children and families of people in prison on 19th Nov 2012. The Ombudsman for Children, Emily Logan, will launch the report.

Launch: New Research Report on Children and Families of Prisoners

16th November 2012

IPRT will publish a new comprehensive report on the rights and needs of children and families of prisoners on Monday, 19th November 2012. It is the culmination of six months' research, including consultations with families and children of prisoners, along with service providers and agencies.

The role of schools in supporting families affected by imprisonment

22nd October 2012

A report has been published by Scottish charity 'Families Outside' on the role which schools may have in supporting those families affected by imprisonment.

Respect for rights in the penal system with prison as a last resort.



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