1st Edition

Parental Imprisonment and Children’s Rights

Edited By Fiona Donson, Aisling Parkes Copyright 2021
    240 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    240 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book brings together internationally renowned academics and professionals from a variety of disciplines who, in a variety of ways, seek to understand the legal, conceptual and practical consequences of parental imprisonment through a children’s rights lens. Children whose parents have been incarcerated are often referred to as "invisible victims of crime and the penal system." It is well accepted that the imprisonment of a parent, even for a short period of time, not only negatively affects the lives of children but it can also result in a gross violation of their fundamental human rights, such as the right of access to their parent and the right to have an input into decision-making processes affecting them, the outcomes of which will without doubt affect the life of the child concerned. 

    This collection foregrounds the voice of these children as it explores transdisciplinary boundaries and examines the practice and development of the rights of both children and their families within the wider dynamic of criminal justice and penology practice. The text is divided into three parts which are dedicated to 1) hearing the voices of children with parents in prison, 2) understanding to what extent children’s rights informs prison policy, and 3) demonstrating how law in the form of children’s rights can help frame both court sentencing and prison practice in a way that minimises the harm that contact with the prison system can cause. The research drawn upon in this book has been conducted in a number of European countries and demonstrates both good and bad practice as far as the implementation of children’s rights is concerned in the context of parental incarceration.

    An accessible and compelling read, this book will appeal to students and scholars of law, children’s rights, criminology, sociology, social work, psychology, penology and all those interested in, and working towards, protecting the rights of children who have a parent in prison.

      1.Introduction  2.‘I just used to say "I haven’t got a Mum" because that was the best thing for me to say’: Exploring the lived experience of children with parents in prison  3.Living with the pains of confinement: the experiences of children with parents in prison in Northern Ireland  4.Making Children Visible: Children’s rights and their role in parent-child contact within the prison system  5.Children First: Putting the Rights of Children Visiting Prisons at the Heart of Policy and Practice  6.Starting Life in Prison: Reflections on the English and Irish contexts regarding pregnancy, birth, babies and new mothers in prison, through a children’s rights lens  7.Framing and Children’s Rights in Europe: Exploring policy processes for children with an incarcerated parent  8.Prisons, Families and Human Rights: From prisoners’ rights to the rights of prisoners’ children  9.Re-imagining the Paramountcy Principle  10.Sentencing Mothers: The Rights of the Child  11.Every Child Matters? Global Perspectives on Incarcerated Mothers and their Children



      Aisling Parkes is a Senior Lecturer in Law at the School of Law, University College Cork, Ireland. She specialises in researching and teaching in children’s rights, child law, international disability law and sports law. Her interdisciplinary research incorporates a range of areas which include the right of children to have their views respected.

      Fiona Donson is a Senior Lecturer in Law and the Director of the Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights in the School of Law, University College Cork, Ireland. She researches and teaches in the areas of penology, administrative and social justice, and children’s rights.

      Dr Donson and Dr Parkes have been researching together over the past decade to raise the profile of the rights of children with a parent or loved one in prison. They have actively sought to influence law and policy development in this area. In particular, their work has fed directly into the Recommendation CM/Rec(2018)5 of the Committee of Ministers to member States concerning children with imprisoned parents (2019). They have published and cited widely in this area in peer reviewed publications of an interdisciplinary nature.



      Parental Imprisonment and Children’s Rights is an insightful and compelling analysis of a hidden children’s rights issue that is clearly deserving of attention by students, scholars and policy makers alike. Edited by Dr Fiona Donson and Dr Aisling Parkes, the book’s rich inter-disciplinary and international perspectives give both visibility and voice to the rights of children affected by parental imprisonment.

      Professor Ursula Kilkelly, Centre for Children’s Rights and Family Law, School of Law, University College Cork

      "Research examining the effects of incarceration on children with incarcerated parents often focuses on families’ risks and deficits. Dr. Donson and Dr. Parkes’s book provides a critically different perspective, one that elevates children’s voices and challenges the reader to explore incarceration through children’s rights versus their parents’ punishment."

      Katie Kramer, CEO, The Bridging Group and Founding Member, San Francisco Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership