Hand in jail. Father's hand lead his child/son
The Children in Devon Affected by Parental Imprisonment Conference was a fully online event hosted on 3 May 2022 by the Criminology Team in the University of Plymouth's School of Society and Culture, in partnership with Choices Consultancy Service. 
The event aimed to bring together the people, organisations, professionals and workforces involved in supporting the children and families of prisoners, to raise awareness about the wellbeing inequalities experienced by the children and families of prisoners, and also improve the connectivity and collaboration of organisations in Devon that support these groups.
The event featured presentations from three keynote speakers, followed by three breakout sessions in the afternoon aligned to the following themes:
  1. Communicating with children
  2. The needs and difficulties experienced by the children and families of prisoners
  3. Support available for the children and families of prisoners.
Each breakout session was be supported by two facilitators - one from Choices and one with direct knowledge and experience of the theme.

Programme [past event]

10:00-12:25 | Morning session
  • Chair: Dr Patricia Gray, Honorary Research Fellow, School of Society and Culture, University of Plymouth
  • Moira Donohoe, Chief Executive Officer of Choices, Opening Address (10 minutes)
  • Sarah Beresford, Prison Reform Trust Associate, 'Assessing the impact: Challenges and support for children with a mother in the criminal justice system' (25 minutes)
  • Dr Lorna Brookes, School of Education, Liverpool John Moores University (title tbc) (25 minutes)
  • Keeley Perks, in conversation with Moira Donohoe from Choices, about her childhood experience of having a father in prison (20 minutes)
  • Question Time (15 minutes)
  • Launch and showcase film produced and directed by Rob Giles, School of Society and Culture, University of Plymouth (50 minutes)
13:15-15:15 | Afternoon session
  • Introduction to breakout sessions (10 minutes)
  • Breakout sessions (80 minutes) (session is selected at point of registration)
  1. Communicating with children (facilitated by Dr Steve Minton, Associate Professor in Applied Psychology, School of Psychology, University of Plymouth)
  2. The needs and difficulties experienced by the children and families of prisoners (facilitated by Yasmin Smith, Registered Mental Health Nurse and Lecturer, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Plymouth)
  3. Support available for the children and families of prisoners (facilitated by Sarah Beresford, Prison Reform Trust Associate)
  • What next for the Children and Families of Prisoners in Devon Support Network? (30 minutes)

Speaker biographies

Moira Donohoe, Chief Executive Officer of Choices

Moira Donohoe

Moira Donohoe is Chief Executive Officer of Choices. After completing her BSc (Hons) Psychology/Criminal Justice degree at the University of Plymouth, Moira began her career in the voluntary and community sector.
Initially a Family Support Worker, Moira worked her way up to being an Area Development Manager whereby she took on a leading role in the development of new initiatives such as the First Night in Custody Suite at HMP Exeter and the Community Advice and Support Service (CASS) in Plymouth and Bodmin Magistrates Courts.
In 2008, Moira and a colleague set up a new voluntary run, not-for-profit organisation that supports prisoners and their families (Choices Consultancy Service). For the past 14 years, her role as CEO has lead her to maintain and further develop family services in three South West Prison establishments. While being a CEO, Moira additionally took on the role of Associate Lecturer at the University of Plymouth for three years.
Moira’s particular interests lie in issues surrounding the rehabilitation of offenders, support for the children and families of offenders, and successful reintegration back into the family/community.
Sarah Beresford, Prison Reform Trust Associate

Sarah Beresford

Sarah Beresford is a Prison Reform Trust Associate and an advisor to Time-Matters UK, a Merseyside peer support group for children affected by parental imprisonment; a Trustee of POPS, a charity that supports people impacted by the criminal justice system; and a Trustee of LDCSA, the charity that oversees Adelaide House, an Approved Premises for women in Liverpool.
Through her background in secondary school education, Sarah became aware of the needs of children affected by imprisonment and the lack of support available. This gap in provision prompted her to undertake a Churchill Fellowship in 2012, looking at the role of schools in supporting families affected by imprisonment. Sarah subsequently joined Families Outside, a Scottish charity that supports families affected by imprisonment, where, in the role of Child & Family Support Manager she undertook development work specifically around improving support for children and young people with a family member in prison. 
Since 2016, Sarah has been a freelance consultant and Prison Reform Trust Associate. She worked within PRT’s Transforming Lives programme, which focused on reducing the number of women sent to prison, and wrote several reports including What about me?, which explores the impact on children when mothers are involved in the criminal justice system.
Sarah is currently leading a project looking at the use of Child Impact Assessments for children with a mother in the criminal justice system to ensure children are listened to and receive the support they need. Sarah is committed to ensuring children and young people are included in the development of appropriate support networks and resources, and as such co-created the Child Impact Assessment with children with lived experience of having a mother in prison. 
Sarah is also a member of Children of Prisoners Europe and wrote their toolkit for schools which gives teachers an overview of the issues children and young people affected by parental imprisonment may experience and practical suggestions of how to support them. 
Dr Lorna Brookes is the founder of Time-Matters UK and a Senior Lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University in the School of Education.

Dr Lorna Brookes

Dr Lorna Brookes is the founder of Time-Matters UK and a Senior Lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University in the School of Education.
Lorna has been passionately supporting children impacted by parental imprisonment for over 15 years since meeting mothers and fathers in prisons who were appealing for more help for their children. 
She has published a number of journal articles and book chapters that reflect upon her direct experiences of providing community-based support to children and families where a parent is imprisoned and is also currently a serving board member for INCCIP (International Coalition for Children of Incarcerated Parents). 
Supporting children with a parent in prison is Lorna's life's work.
Keeley Perks

Keeley Perks

Keeley Perks has life experience of being a child whose parent served a prison sentence.
Keeley is now a parent herself and a successful business owner. 
She will discuss the levels of support she received, along with the various challenges she faced throughout this time and how she overcame those challenges.  
Dr Steve Minton, School of Psychology

Dr Steve Minton

Dr Steve Minton is an Associate Professor in Applied Psychology at the School of Psychology, University of Plymouth, where he serves as the Director of Research for the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology programme.
Steve is also a visiting Associate Professor in Education at the University of Southeastern Norway. 
Steve is a Chartered Psychologist with, and Associate Fellow of, the British Psychological Society, and originally trained as a counselling psychologist. Having had 17 years’ experience as a trainer of teachers, for the past two decades his practice and research has focused on the prevention and countering of aggression, violence and abuse in school, community, institutional and online settings, with a particular emphasis on the experience of marginalised populations. 
Steve has undertaken direct work with students, teachers and school management staff in over 300 school communities on practical ways to prevent and deal with bullying. 
His most recent book is ‘Residential Schools and Indigenous Peoples: From Genocide via Education to the Possibilities for Truth, Restitution, Reconciliation and Reclamation’ (Routledge, 2020). 
Yasmin Smith, Registered Mental Health Nurse

Yasmin Smith

Yasmin Smith is a Registered Mental Health Nurse who qualified in 2010. Currently she is a Lecturer in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Plymouth.
Yasmin's early career was spent working primarily in psychiatric intensive care and acute adult inpatient settings in Hampshire. 
Subsequent to this she worked briefly in ECT (Electro Convulsive Therapy) in Plymouth. She also worked as a Community CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) practitioner within what is now known as the Early Help Pathway. Later she went on to co-manage this team while concurrently managing the Infant Mental Health team (0-5 years). 
Yasmin is now employed as a Lecturer, teaching all nursing branches during years 1 and 2 of training, and Mental Health Nursing students in years 3 or 4 of their training. 
The Sustainable Social Justice Initiative (SSJI) was developed by academics within the University of Plymouth criminology team and focuses the combined efforts of our students, academic colleagues and community partners in the pursuit of social justice. 
Through the SSJI we identify the common aims and priorities that we all share, and facilitate collaborative projects that harness the skills and expertise of all involved. These opportunities benefit students by engaging in the real world application of skills and knowledge, supports our academic colleagues to generate meaningful impact from research and supports our community partners to achieve their aims for a fairer, safer and more inclusive society.
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