Scroll Top
Unit 83, 17 Third Avenue, Heatherhouse Industrial Estate, Irvine, KA12 8HN

New SPS Family and Parenting Strategy launched

HELPING parents connect with their children is at the heart of a new Scottish Prison Service strategy.

The new Family and Parenting Strategy 2024 – 2029 aims to help further build relationships between those in custody and their loved ones, particularly children.

It recognises the important role family has in improving mental health, communication skills, rehabilitation, and reducing the risk of reoffending.

The strategy seeks to build on the good work already taking place in establishments, with the support of SPS staff and third sector partners.

It replaces the SPS Family Strategy, which was launched in 2017, and the name change reflects the increased focus on supporting people in SPS care to develop and build their parenting skills.

Mothers and fathers in custody have the opportunity to take parenting lessons, and then put those skills into practice through interactive family contact sessions.

As well as supporting individuals in custody, this benefits families at home, particularly children, by allowing them to spend quality time in a welcoming environment, fitted with toys and games.

SPS recognises the impact imprisonment has on families, particularly children, and the strategy sets out a number of practical measures designed to support them, including:

•    Ensuring we listen and engage with families on their experiences of contact at our establishments and improve wherever possible.

•    That sessions take account of school hours and public transport constraints.

•    A range of visiting sessions are made available that are suitable for different age groups and needs. Information is provided in easy-to-read formats, with images, videos, and leaflets, to support understanding.

•    Children and families with additional support needs are supported to maintain contact with consideration given to exceptional sessions, sensory aids, familiarisation sessions, and more.

SPS has also introduced in-cell telephony, email a prisoner, and virtual visits, to support family contact, which is vital to the successful return into a community upon liberation.

A Scottish Prison Service spokesperson said: “Our new strategy reflects how important strong and healthy family relationships are to those in our care, especially with children

“They support good mental health, aid rehabilitation, and reduce the risk of reoffending upon release, contributing to safer communities.

“They are also important to those family members left behind, when someone enters our custody, particularly children.”

SPS Family and Parenting Strategy 2024 2029