Whither the Children When Parents Are Incarcerated?


Dr. Shona Minson, from the University of Oxford, is the winner of the Outstanding Early Career Impact Prize, in the ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize 2019.

In her PhD research she looks at whether or not the impacts of children are considered when parents sentenced in criminal courts in England. Known as the first study to hear directly from children and carers about their experiences she plans to find whether children’s rights under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child are upheld.

The ESRC is celebrating its Impact prize winners. Here we have an in depth look at Dr. Shona Minson and how she is making an impact today.

Currently an estimated 312,000 children annually lose a parent to imprisonment in England and Wales. Dr Minson found that children of women sentenced to prison are treated without the concern given to children separated from their parents in the family courts. she argues that judges and magistrates are inconsistent in how they consider dependent children, and do not understand how the children are affected when their primary carer is sentenced.

“For many children, the separation from their primary carer can have long term implications… its really made [Harrow Crown Court] think that we really do need to understand, properly before we pass sentence, what the implications are…”
Judge Rosa Dean

Dr. Minson’s research on how the sentencing of mothers affects children has changed practice for judges, magistrates and Probation Officers, who now consider how children will be affected by their parents’ sentence.

Watch the in depth video about Dr. Minson’s research and the impact generated below:



ESRC Celebrating Impact logo

The ESRC is celebrating its Impact prize winners. Here we have an in depth look at the winners research and how they are making an impact today.


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