Thousands of children have not seen parents for a year: hidden impact of COVID on prisoners’ families

New Oxford research finds that thousands of UK children have not seen parents for a year

Based on research between April and June, the report from Law researcher, Shona Minson, reveals that prior to the pandemic, only 4% of children had no contact with imprisoned parents. More than half had at least one visit each week and daily calls. But even telephone calls in prison have been restricted because of the pandemic. The report concludes, ‘This loss of contact has negatively impacted children’s relationships with their imprisoned parents and their mental health and well-being. Children may not understand why contact has stopped and may blame themselves.’

'This amounts to an interference with children’s right to family life,’ says the report. ‘Many  of  these children  enjoyed  regular  and  positive  contact  with  their  parent  prior  to  prison lockdown... The effects of this loss of contact and disruption to family relationships are likely to be long term and will affect family reunification and resettlement after imprisonment.'

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