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: