Resettlement: an adjustment for the entire family

Separation through imprisonment changes family relationships. No matter how often prisoners have contact with their children, and in what form, it is inevitable that they will miss events that are important in their children’s lives, will not be able to give them support and advice on a daily basis, follow their children’s development or be involved in decisions about their lives in a way that they would be had they never been imprisoned.

On release, many prisoners have to ‘learn’ how to be parents again and many children have to get used to having the parent around again. Their time in prison should be used to support those prisoners who wish to do so in providing them with parenting skills and to prepare them for ‘parenting on the outside’. Resettlement plans for prisoners who have children should include the offer of specific support to prepare them for undertaking their parental responsibilities on release. Support should also be offered to the families of returning prisoners.

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