A research study looking at the lives and experiences of families with a mother in prison custody in England and Wales

   What is the research about?
The research wants to learn about the experiences of families when a mother is taken into custody.
The research hopes to understand more about the lives of family members before, and during a mother's time in prison. It will also give family members an opportunity to talk about their views and experiences of maintaining contact from both inside and outside of prison.
   Why is the research important?
  • Research indicates that most women in prison are mothers, and that many were providing primary care to their children before being taken into custody.
  • At present, little is known about how families organise their lives and relationships from both inside and outside prison when a mother is incarcerated.
  • Because research and policy can often overlook the importance of family life for prisoners and their families
  • By talking directly to family members, the research will help us to understand more about the experiences,  challenges and issues facing famililes when a Mum is in prison
  • The research  will produce family-centred recommendations from the empirical evidence to inform policy and practice across the women’s custodial estate, with the aim of improving the experiences of families in the future.
Who is the research talking to?

As the research is using a family-centred approach, the study will sample  three groups of family members, located both inside and outside of prison. These are as follows: 
          1. Mothers in prison

          2. Caregivers of children (under 18) whose mother in prison

          3. Young people (aged 15-18) whose mother is in prison

The research aims to talk with 15 people from each of these three groups.

The research is talking to family members from different families, and so the participants will NOT be  related to each other.  Therefore, the research aims to talk to family members from 45 different families.
   Who has approved the research?
  • The research has received approval from the National Research Committee at the National Offender Management Service (NOMS)
  • The research has received ethical approaval from the University of Bath.
What will happen to the research findings?
The research findings will be made publically available in written documents (including a doctoral thesis and academic articles) and oral presentations.
The results will also be written up into a report for the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) and made available to some women's prisons in England and Wales.