Two thirds of sons of prisoners are likely to grow up to become criminals, according to new research that warns of the dangers susceptible to family members.
The children’s charity Barnardo’s warns that children of prisoners are more likely to be excluded from school and become susceptible to mental health problems.
Children with a parent in prison largely remain unknown to the authorities or services that could help them, the charity estimates.
At least 200,000 youngsters have a parent in jail but at no stage in the criminal justice process are offenders asked if they have children. Despite the government’s policy of early intervention to break intergenerational cycles of crime and disadvantage, there are no official records of who these children are or where they live. Barnardo’s, which is set to publish a report on the issue this week, wants ministers to legislate so that courts ask people remanded or sentenced to prison whether they have children.
Javed Khan, chief executive of Barnardo’s, told The Times: “These are highly vulnerable children facing major challenges in their life, yet no one knows what help they might need. We would like to start a conversation with the government about how this group can be helped.”