A group of charities are arguing that government support for children and families affected by the imprisonment of family members could cut crime and save money. The charities said there is good evidence that maintaining family relationships, and educating offenders and their partners to be better parents, can help to cut crime, and reduce the harm to children who are otherwise at a high risk of becoming offenders themselves in the future.
Andy Keen-Downs, chief executive of Pact, a national charity that supports people affected by imprisonment, said: "Children of prisoners are more likely to go to prison than university. We are asking the government to work with us to invest in these children, and to build stronger families to reduce reoffending."
An estimated 200,000 children are affected by parental imprisonment each year with research suggesting they are twice as likely to suffer mental health problems as their peers.
Justice minister Andrew Selous said government has introduced practical ways of improving family links, including extended visits and family days.
"We have also created 70 resettlement prisons across England and Wales so offenders can be placed in prisons close to home, keep in touch with families and work towards their rehabilitation in the community," he said.