Fathers behind bars: families as victims?

Lynda Clarke, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Randal Day, Brigham Young University

With the growing prison population in many western countries, fathering from prison is emerging as a further significant context in which to understand the contemporary experience of fathers in families. This paper contributes to the developing research evidence about the meanings and experiences of fathering whilst in prison and the effect on both fathers and their families, by presenting new data from a pilot study of 43 men serving sentences in English prisons. This study tested methods being used in a study in prisons in 2 American states to explore the impact of imprisonment on families and this paper will describe results from both countries. The disenfranchisement of fathers and the central role played by mothers were common findings but the American system meant contact was more difficult. The English sample shows evidence of depression and anxiety amongst both fathers and mothers.

Presented in Session 21: Parenting and child-care