The Council of Europe today issued policy guidelines to its 47 member states aimed at safeguarding the rights and interests of children of imprisoned parents.
Some 2.1 million children in Europe have one of their parents in prison, according to estimates based on the number of inmates in prisons. These children may experience trauma, stigma, anxiety, and loss of parental care and material status which may be detrimental to their well-being, personal development and sometimes life.
The Committee of Ministers – the executive body of the organisation - adopted a Recommendation recalling that children with imprisoned parents are entitled to the same rights as other children, including regular contact with their parents, except if it is considered contrary to the child´s best interests.
Maintaining child-parent relations can positively impact not only the child, but also the imprisoned parent, prison staff and environment, and by better preparing prisoner for release and social reintegration, also protect society in general, the Committee of Ministers stresses.