Parental Imprisonment

Justice – in the House of Commons on 22nd November 2022.

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Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Shadow Minister (Climate Change and Net Zero)

If he will take steps with prisons to estimate the number of children affected by parental imprisonment.

Photo of Damian Hinds Damian Hinds The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

Yes, I certainly will. I agree about the effects that parental imprisonment has, and I certainly agree that it is important to understand the number of children this affects.

Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Shadow Minister (Climate Change and Net Zero)

I thank the Minister for that response. I have previously had meetings with former Justice Ministers, Children’s Ministers and so on. We absolutely need this data because we think there could be hundreds of thousands of children affected over the years. Not only is it really traumatic for them, but it puts them at risk themselves. Once we have the data, we can look at support services, but may I urge him to do what he can to work with prisons, schools and local authorities to try to make sure there is a comprehensive database?

Photo of Damian Hinds Damian Hinds The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

I agree. I have spoken to one of my predecessor Ministers—my hon. Friend Victoria Atkins—about the conversation she had with the hon. Lady. I was also reading with interest the hon. Lady’s speech in Westminster Hall the other day, and about the work of the charity Children Heard and Seen. She is absolutely right that the first step and the basis has to be the data, and there is important work under way, including changes to the basic custody screening process, and then the big cross-Government project called “Better Outcomes through Linked Data”, and we will continue to work hard on that.