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HEADQUARTERS Calton House 5 Redheughs Rigg Edinburgh

EH129HW

SCOTTISH

 

PI~ISON

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Tel:

0131-244-8523

 

Fax:

0131-244-8648

Kezia Dugdale MSP

John Ewing

The Scottish Parliament Edinburgh EH99 lSP

Chief Executive

Dear Ms Dugdale

14 October 2011

Thank you for your letter of 26 September in response to my reply to your Parliamentary Question (S4W-02476) to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice.

on the

number of children affected by the imprisonment of a parent.

most likely at the time of reception to

prison. Prisoners frequently do not wish their families to know of their imprisonment or

are reluctant to volunteer such personal information because of what they perceive the

'authorities'

sometimes during the period of imprisonment, which would make it difficult to track this information accurately.

To do so, we would need

to rely on the information provided

It would be difficult

for the SPS to gather

and maintain accurate information

by prisoners,

might

do with

this.

This information

would also be subject

to change,

My reason for suggesting that local authorities

information is that they are likely to be the principal point of contact for people who have

a family member in prison and, of course, they have responsibility for the child's welfare in such circumstances. Social work colleagues in local government can have access to information not always available to the prison.

placed to gather this

would be better

SPS is, of course, committed

In 2009, SPS published the Good Practice Guidelines for Children and Families. These

guidelines are in place in all prisons to ensure children and families

treated with dignity and respect and that their visit is as productive as possible. guidelines provide a framework that encourages prisons to:

visiting prisons are

The

to

helping prisoners to maintain

positive family links.

• provide relevant and useful information for families;

• provide a suitable, comfortable children;

visiting area catering

for

the

needs of

• work with local transport providers to improve services for families visiting prisons;

• consult with families when planning service provision;

• encourage

management;

families

to become

involved

provide child-focused visits; and

in

the

prisoner's

sentence

respond to the needs of families in times of significant events .

RF0809.11

1.

In response to recommendations made by Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People, the Good Practice Guidelines are currently under review.

I hope you find this information helpful.

Yours sincerely

JOHN EWING

Chief Executive