Devon County Council commissioned Choices Consultancy Service to conduct a project to increase understanding of the impact of parental imprisonment on children and families living in Devon.
As part of the
Sustainable Social Justice Initiative the Criminology team in the University of Plymouth’s School of Society and Culture, in partnership with Choices Consultancy Service, set up and ran an online conference on 3 May 2022. 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, and to improve the connectivity and collaboration of organisations in Devon that support these groups.
One hundred and twenty-one delegates registered for the conference and the majority were professionals working with prisoners or their children and families. In the morning session three keynote speakers from distinguished prison reform agencies presented at the conference to raise awareness of the experiences of children affected by parental imprisonment.
In the afternoon there were three breakout workshops which explored ways of providing support to this target group.
Three virtual criminology student interns from the University of Plymouth were appointed from March to July 2022 to work on the project. They performed three main roles along with the project team. First, they helped to organise the conference and analyse feedback for a report to Devon Country Council about the impact of the conference.
Second, they designed and delivered a social media campaign mainly on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to advertise the conference and disseminate information about the needs and difficulties faced by the children of imprisoned fathers. Third, they created a set of literature in the form of posters and leaflets containing information and support contacts designed for key stakeholders, and professionals directly working with parents/carers and children.
Finally, Choices in partnership with Rob Giles and members of the criminology team in the School of Society and Culture produced a film drama entitled “Sasha’s Story” which showed the difficulties faced by the children and families of prisoners, and the kind of support that is available to help them. The film has been widely distributed as an important learning tool for raising awareness of the issues amongst professionals.
Below is a poster for the film which has been posted at the visitors centres of HMPs Dartmoor, Channings Wood and Exeter with embedded QR codes so that it can be watched by the children and families of imprisoned fathers. You can also watch the film.