Research and analysis

Prisoners’ childhood and family backgrounds

Prisoners’ childhood and family backgrounds: Results from the Surveying Prisoner Crime Reduction (SPCR) longitudinal cohort study of prisoners


Prisoners’ childhood and family backgrounds


This report examines the childhood and family background of prisoners, their current family relationships, and associations between these characteristics and reoffending. It also estimates the number of children in England and Wales who experience parental imprisonment - based on Wave 1 of a longitudinal cohort study (Surveying Prisoner Crime Reduction (SPCR). SPCR tracked the progress of newly sentenced prisoners.

The report finds that many prisoners came from problematic backgrounds, and prisoners with background experiences such as having been in care, been abused, or been excluded from school, were more likely to be reconvicted than those without.

It also finds that many prisoners have children and value their families now, and see the support of their families as important in stopping them from reoffending in the future. Based on prison data and SPCR data, it estimates that approximately 200,000 children were affected through 2009 by a parent being in, or going to prison.

Published 11 February 2014