Families & Criminal Justice

Families affected by imprisonment

160,000 children each year have a parent in prison. 

At Spurgeons, our aim is to improve the lives of those children and their families who are affected by a parent being in prison. Our visitor centres in London prisons allow children to visit their loved ones in a friendly environment and our mentoring and support programmes give young people the chance to reduce negative behaviours and build a better future

This is a difficult time for those children and many, overwhelmed by their problems, act-up as a cry for help or attention. It has a big impact on their future and can result in some becoming young offenders themselves.

The impact of having a relative in prison

Having a parent in prison can be detrimental to a young person’s wellbeing and behaviour. The figures speak for themselves:

  • 65% of boys with a convicted parent go on to offend
  • 37% of prisoners have family members who had been convicted of a crime
  • 29% of prisoners experienced abuse as a child
  •  63% of prisoners had been suspended or temporarily excluded from school

In addition, children of prisoners are three times more likely to develop behavioural problems and twice as likely to show anti-social or delinquent behaviour.

Children seen as 'trouble-makers' may become isolated or excluded from mainstream schooling. When this happens the risk of them becoming involved in criminal activity grows. They face the challenges of drugs, bullying, abuse, poverty and family breakdown alone - sometimes because their own parents are in prison.

Spurgeons Makes a Difference

Our work supports those children who have a parent in prison and helps young offenders to break the cycle of criminal activity that could lead to reoffending.

We offer a wide range of support for those affected by a family member in prison, including:

  • Child-focused visitor centres in London prisons
  • Specialist support for children experiencing the loss of a parent through imprisonment
  • Family inclusive programmes and community support
  •  Preparing for release
  • Support post release to develop family cohesion 
  • In partnership with the Police, schools, social workers and Youth Offending teams, we support families at times of crisis and provide one-to-one mentoring and befriending for children

Child focused visitor centres

We run child focused visitors centres in London prisons, ensuring children have the most safe and comfortable experience when they visit a parent in prison. 

To find out more about our Visitor Centres or to book a prison visit, see our Visitor Centres page

Review of London Prisons Visiting 2014

Find out more about how Spurgeons supports children with a parent in prison by reading our review of the London Prisons Visiting Service 2014.

Frequently asked Questions

Q. My partner / family member has been sent to prison and I’m worried about my child coping with the stress, where can I turn?

A. Turn to us. We offer support for the whole family. Our experienced staff will be able to help your child to talk about their feelings. We also run a number of child-focused visitor centres in London prisons, enabling children to have a positive experience when visiting a prison. We’ll help you and your child feel less overwhelmed by the changes.

Case Studies

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Coping with Dad in prison
14-year-old Jade was struggling to cope with the fact her father was in prison and it was badly affecting her school work. Spurgeons’ staff noticed her distress during a Family Day visit at HMP Wandsworth and spoke to her mum Carol. Jade was put in touch with a link support worker through her school and was given a support plan and one-to-one sessions to help her understand and develop coping strategies.
Read More
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Visiting Dad in prison
Four-year-old Imran is severely autistic and couldn’t to visit his dad Ahmed in prison because he would be unable to cope with the number of people and level of noise. His mother Meryam spoke to Spurgeons, who were able to arrange for a prison visit in a quieter environment than the noisy visits hall. This greatly helped the bond between Imran and Ahmed and meant he was able to adjust to his father’s subsequent return home too.
Read More

Contact Details

74 Wellingborough Road
Rushden
Northants
NN10 9TY
01933 412412

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