We know that when a person goes to prison their entire community and family, including children, are impacted. Limiting people’s involvement with the justice system by ensuring prison is reserved only as an option of last resort, and keeping families connected is the best way to prevent this harm from occurring.

Jesuit Social Services was pleased to contribute a submission to the Victorian Parliament’s Inquiry into children affected by parental incarceration, which highlighted the need to invest in alternatives to imprisonment and support the children and families of those who have justice involvement. Safe and secure housing, and links to therapeutic, parenting and clinical supports are also crucial for transitions out of custody and for supporting parents to return to their families.

Summary of our recommendations

  • Strengthen prevention and diversion by investing in alternatives to custody as well as initiatives addressing the range of factors that can lead to justice involvement.
  • Keep families connected by investing in prison-based programs that strengthen parent-child connections.
  • Meet the needs of parents in custody through investment in therapeutic supports that address the underlying drivers of people’s offending, with a focus on rehabilitation rather than punishment.
  • Expand transitional supports by investing in models of supported housing and transitional supports that enable people leaving custody to positively return to community and reunify with their families.