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Joni Reef in Trouw: more attention for parents in prison

An increasing amount of research is demonstrating the importance of taking parenting from prison seriously. But the plans of Minister Dekker of Legal Protection do not address this issue.

Joni Reef

Far more attention needs to be paid to the family life of parents in prison, says Assistant Professor Joni Reef in Dutch newspaper Trouw. 'The behaviour of parents in prison can already be positively influenced during their time behind bars if they see themselves primarily as a father or mother, instead of as a criminal. After serving a sentence, the stability of family life can also help ex-prisoners not revert back to past negative patterns.'

When passing sentence, far more account should be taken of the family situation of the convicted person, according to Reef. 'For instance, in the case of less serious offences an alternative sentence could be an electronic ankle monitor. In social terms, when it comes to parents of at-risk children this type of alternative punishment is certainly preferable. This kind of option is already regulated by law in countries such as Germany and Italy.'

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