The North Wales FABI Programme, continues to propel forwards, joint working with multi-agency professionals, for children and young people, who are affected by imprisonment. We are actively listening to families who are in this cohort, who are very often, vulnerable and whose experiences and challenges often forgotten and overlooked, through no fault of their own, these are the victims that are hidden and subsequently end up serving their own “hidden sentences” whilst a parent or a member of their family are serving a prison sentence.
We are looking at establishing clear, quick pathways to identifying, supporting, guiding and listening, as soon as FABI are identified. Long waiting times or unidentified Children and Young People who are unsupported is not desirable for their long term outcomes.
We are looking at the development of toolkits for professionals in Education, Social Care and other public sectors, who may work with these children and young people.
The FABI Project – A Multi-Agency Approach
In order to raise awareness of the issues faced by these North Wales families and to drive change to encourage prevention work and more targeted non-stigmatising support, eleven public bodies from across the region (including the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and North Wales Police) and HMP Berwyn, have appointed a small regional cross-cutting team; this is part of the work of the North Wales Safer Communities Board and the North Wales Substance Misuse Area Planning Board.
There is now a new Regional Officer in post, who continues to work collaboratively with partners. The multi-agency Programme Steering Group has over 40 members and they continue to drive the work, these include North Wales Local Authorities, Health, Police, Probation, the ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Support Hub, HMP Berwyn and HMP Styal, youth justice, the third sector and HMPPS in Wales.
If you wish to contact Karen about the work and can support and inform it going forward, please contact them on:
Karen.email@example.com Direct Number 01978 292263
Maybe you collate figures on the numbers of children or families from North Wales affected by this issue? Or you have a specific understanding of their needs through the work that you do day-to-day?
Perhaps you provide support to families affected by imprisonment or would like to understand more about the issues so that you can in the future? If so, Karen would like to hear from you.
The Families Affected by Imprisonment (FABI) Newsletter will continue to be produced, if you have any information that would be useful to be including please contact Karen. For an example of content you can see back dated issues HERE
How Does Having a Family Member in Prison Affect Children and Families?
Compared to their peers, children face significant pressures and emotional upheaval during the period of a family member’s imprisonment and have a greater likelihood of a range of poor outcomes, and of facing impoverished and damaging lives.
Intergenerational offending is a big problem: a landmark study found that 65% of boys who had a father in custody go on to offend themselves. The imprisonment of a mother also has lasting consequences for children and only 5% of children with a mother in prison remain in their own home. The Prison Reform Trust produced a report: “What About Me?” about the impact on children when mothers are involved in the criminal justice system. Read it here significantly, all of North Wales’ women in custody are held in England.
Families, generally, are more likely to experience poverty and debt and feel stigmatised in their communities; the children tend to feel more isolated in schools. This also affects children and families who have a parent or family member involved elsewhere in the criminal justice system, not just in prison.
Children and Families with a parent in prison:
- Can experience financial, practical and emotional well-being implications
- Has a negative influence on their relationship during and after imprisonment
- Can be twice as likely to experience conduct and mental health problems;
- Can be less likely to do well at school and more likely to be excluded;
- Can be three times more likely to be a perpetrator or victim of domestic violence; and
- Can be four times more likely to become dependent on drugs.
This cohort has been identified as one of the vulnerable groups targeted by Organised Criminal Gangs through ‘County Lines’. Officers in the Violence and Vulnerability Unit (which is supported by the Home Office) highlighted this threat in an article for the September 2018 edition of the FABI Newsletter.
Further Useful Resources
The National Information Centre on Children of Offenders - https://www.nico.org.uk
Partners of Prisoners - https://www.partnersifprisoers.co.uk
Action for Prisoners and Offenders Families - http://www.familylives.org.uk
The Link – Families Affected by Imprisonment – Newsletters
These Newsletters have been instrumental in raising awareness of the specific issues and needs of the children and families of North Wales affected by Imprisonment of a family member.