Directory of Research

All research and evidence on NICCO is reviewed using a Quality Assessment Tool (QAT) developed by the University of Huddersfield and Barnardo's.

Research and evidence is assessed in four key areas: Methodological Quality, Child-Centredness, Relevance to Policy and Strategy, and Relevance to Practice with offender's children. This ensures that items on the NICCO website are as useful as possible to academics, practitioners, commissioners and other professionals. For more information about the development of the QAT or to review research in order to list it on NICCO, please see the QAT webpage where you can download the Tool, Guidebook and a short step-by-step 'How To' document. Please contact us to submit quality assessed research on to NICCO.

Click on the icons to see a full list of items which have been awarded a standard icon or icon+ (for items which have scored particularly highly) in each key area:

This report is the output of a review carried out jointly by the Ministry of Justice (National Offender Management Service) and the Department for Children, Schools and Families (then Children, Young People and Families Directorate, DfES). The review involves experts, practitioners, families and policy makers. The report firstly notes that children of prisoners experience poorer outcomes and the numbers of this group are increasing. The field visits conclude that there is no shared, robust information on who children of prisoners are, there is little awareness of their needs and no systematic support for them. Further, there is a lack of knowledge, evidence and understanding about what works and the support system is fractured both over time, and across the family unit. Policy recommendations include: - a mechanism to enable local authorities to systematically assess and meet the child's needs, underpinned by evidenced-based guidance, awareness raising and coherent information - close work with the Social Exclusion Task Force to incentivise delivery partners to adopt an approach that improves outcomes for the whole family, and fully engages and supports socially excluded families. Download Children of Offenders Review below:
The Corston Report is a review of vulnerable women in the criminal justice system carried out in 2006 by Baroness Jean Corston. The review made 43 recommendations about the treatment of women in the criminal justice system, and argued "the need for a distinct radically different, visibly-led, strategic, proportionate, holistic, woman-centred, integrated approach". Whilst the report focuses more generally on vulnerable female offenders, it recognises that a large proportion of these women are mothers, referring to the effects of imprisonment on their children, and recommending that these children are taken into consideration by the criminal justice system. For example, one recommendation suggests that primary carers of young children should only be remanded in custody after fully taking into account the impact on the children. The Corston report is useful for anyone considering the particular impact on children of having a mother in prison. See The Corston Report below:
Click here
This is a report of the outcomes and recommendations of a number of projects run as part of a bid won from National Offender Management Service (NOMS) by the West Midlands. The pilot projects were run in prisons and later within wider communities across the area. The aim of the project was to provide evidence about the longer term impact of improved contact with children and families on rehabilitation, crime reduction and safer communities. The project also aimed to provide a partnership structure and environment for future collaborative multi/interagency work. The areas of focus and improvement were visits (the need for efficient data capturing, visitor facilities and family information), education (the need for consistency, accreditation and family involvement in parenting programmes) and community partnerships (the need for raised awareness of the "hidden sentence" and training around this, building partnerships, working with prisons, school policy and outreach). See Families Do Matter below:
Click here
This study uses in depth qualitative interviews with family members to look into the impacts a custodial sentence has on families and how they respond to financial, emotional and social challenges. The study also conducts an evaluation on support services for families of prisoners. The report summarises that disadvantage associated with imprisonment included high rates of depression, physical illness and housing disruption. There are also key findings around financial instability, barriers to employment and child poverty. The report notes that maintaining family ties with the prisoner are financially draining despite families being officially recognised as key in prisoners' rehabilitation. The study also uncovers disadvantage with regard to families of foreign nationals who may have no access to public recourse and could face deportation. Conclusions are that a combination of criminal justice and social welfare policy puts children in particular into poverty, at a disadvantage and into exclusion with the main reason for this being welfare benefit dependence which amounts to below the Government poverty level. The study looks into the The New Deal for Lone Parents (a welfare to work initiative) and its failing to take responsibility of and priority given to care for Children with a family member in prison into account. The study also notes concern around the limitations of statutory and voluntary organisations (especially those based in the community) due to the commissioning aspect of the then emerging NOMS. See Poverty and Disadvantage below:
Click here
This applied study looks at enabling prisoners to take responsibility for their own resettlement as a way of decreasing the high rates of re-conviction and aims to decipher what effective resettlement is. Discussion groups and interviews were conducted in nine prisons with prisoners, voluntary sector staff and the prison service. This study also draws on the Prisoner's Education Trust's Inside Time survey about prisoners' plans for resettlement. Findings show a positive impact on resettlement as a result of commitment from prison staff, as they worked with the prisoner to make responsible choices about resettlement. One of the six key aspects of this would be for prison staff and the prisoner to work around improved contact with family and more involvement of families in preparation for release. The report recommends that the Ministry of Justice should work inter-departmentally to put in place family support as this is critical to effective rehabilitation. For prison managers the report advocates sharing responsibility for resettlement, between staff and building links, with community based organisations who have knowledge in areas such as family support, housing and employment. Furthermore, the report recommends government to pilot a payment by results scheme which recognises the offender as responsible and active in their resettlement. See Out for Good below:
Click here
This research looks at whether parental imprisonment causes children to develop poor mental health and antisocial behaviour, and whether certain characteristics (of children, prison, parents and wider social and penal settings) have effects on the relationship between the two. The researchers looked at 16 previous studies which compared children with and without parents in prison, but who had mental health outcomes. The studies chosen were either representative of the general population of children or the population of children of prisoners, so that fair conclusions could be drawn. The findings show that children of prisoners are at twice the risk of poor mental health and antisocial problems and all but one of the studies analysed, showed the increase in such outcomes due to parental imprisonment. The fact that studies often did not control for factors such as parental criminality, previous behaviour of the children, mean that causal relationships are hard to formulate. See Effects of Parental Imprisonment below:
Click here

Our Partner

The Centre is delivered by Barnardo’s in partnership with His Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS).
NICOO Partners