The Issue

That's what we need to talk about: These children need us!

In the 47 member countries of the Council of Europe, there are currently more than 1.54 million people in prison, according to the Université de Lausanne’s Prison Populations Space study (Status 2020).
Worldwide, there are about 10.47 million people in prison (ICPA World Prison Population List 2018). That’s bad enough. But a person’s incarceration is not only a punishment for themselves, but also for their family and friends, especially their children.

A sad fact

Over 2 million children
are affected

In Europe, more than 2 million children are growing up with at least one parent in prison – and many more children around the world are affected. The situation of these innocent children receives far too little attention throughout society. Special attention should be paid to the rights and well-being of these children to prevent them from falling into a vicious circle.

Lost innocence

How do children react to
this difficult situation?

Children of prisoners often suffer from shame and insecurity. They often feel left alone by their incarcerated parent.

The likelihood that the child of an incarcerated offender will follow the parent into prison at some point in his or her life is significantly higher than for other children.

Uncertain environment

A high burden
for the children

Growing up in a socially disadvantaged and insecure environment is difficult for children and puts them under immense pressure. This stress is even greater if they have possibly witnessed the crime themselves. The children often need very sensitive psychological support to cope with their trauma.

Parent-child bonding

The family relationship is important for both parts

A close parent-child bond is of social relevance, as resocialization can only be successfully managed if the incarcerated parent maintain good contact with their children.

Whenever possible and in the best interest of the child, children of prisoners should have regular contact with their incarcerated parent. The time they are separated from each other should be made as pleasant as possible. Unfortunately, this is far too often not the case.