Sentencing a parent or caregiver has a direct impact on a child, in particular where the caregiver is incarcerated and separated from their children. The imprisonment of a parent can have socio-economic impacts, compound pre-existing disadvantage and significantly affect their mental and physical health. Parental imprisonment can inflict different harms on children, including unemployment, substance misuse, low academic attainment and anti-social behaviour
Summary of Recommendations
• There should be regular evaluations and review of the Living With Mum programmes at the women’s prisons, conducted by an independent body such as the Ombudsman.
• There should be greater transparency with respect to other short-term parenting programmes run through Corrections Victoria for both men and women, including publication of what the programmes involve and how many prisoners benefit from them. Such programmes should also be subject to regular and independent evaluation and review.
• The Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) should be amended to allow courts to expressly take into account the impact that sentencing can have on children under the care of offenders, thus bringing Victorian courts into line with their obligations under the Charter and the Convention of the Rights of the Child. The impact on children and families should not have to reach a level of ‘exceptional hardship’ in order for a court to take it into account.
If you have any questions regarding this submission, please do not hesitate to contact Michael Stanton – President of Liberty Victoria, or Julia Kretzenbacher – Immediate Past President of Liberty Victoria, or the Liberty Victoria office on 9670 6422 or firstname.lastname@example.org