With Mum or Dad in Prison: Children Who Live with Their Imprisoned Parents

  • Peter Scharff Smith
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Prisons and Penology book series (PSIPP)


It is one thing be separated from your imprisoned parent and come visit in a prison. It is quite another to move into a prison and live there on a daily basis, even though you have not been sentenced to imprisonment. This is actually a fairly standard practice in many countries around the world and primarily involves underage children. Such a situation can arise when an imprisoned mother is pregnant and gives birth to a child during her sentence. But it is also quite common for some mothers to take their young children with them into prison. The extremely difficult human rights dilemma (see Chapter 6) is how to strike a balance between two competing truths: prisons are not suitable places for children to live, but separating a young child from the primary caregiver is generally a very bad idea.


State Prison Parental Imprisonment Prison Officer Social Authority Underage Child 
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  1. 50.
    Robertson 2008, 29, citing Jane Woodrow, Mothers in Prison: The Problem of Dependent Children (Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1992), 280, originally from “Alliance 44 of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice”, 1987.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Peter Scharff Smith 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Scharff Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.Danish Institute for Human RightsDenmark

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