We are delighted to release the findings of Southampton University’s evaluation of our work supporting young fathers in prison to maintain and strengthen relationships with their children and families.

The evaluation, which was carried out by Dr Pamela Ugwudike from the Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology, University of Southampton, studied the impact of the Supporting Young Fathers in Prison project delivered by Pact Cymru in prisons across Wales. 

The project’s primary aim is to help men in prison engage with their partners and children, to reduce the social isolation and traumatic impact of the separation associated with imprisonment. The project supports the men’s efforts to maintain contact with their families and build good quality relationships and also aims to direct parents in prison and their families to relevant services, improve the emotional and mental wellbeing of children affected by parental imprisonment, reduce the risk of intergenerational offending and encourage good practice in the field of family support within the prions and the wider community.

The report found Pact’s work to be a “vital” and “indispensable” service, with no other agency in the three prisons participating in the research providing similar family support services.

The fathers who were interviewed as part of the research said the project improved the frequency of contact and quality of relationships with their families, and strengthened the bonds between them. The fathers also felt that the project improves their parenting ability, emotional wellbeing and behaviour.

A probation officer in one of the prisons participating in the research said: “I think if they're not able to contact [their families], their behaviour here can be very, very different. And if they're able to contact them, it reduces their anxiety and then, their behaviour improves a lot.”

The research found that the project’s role in strengthening bonds between prisoners and their families can also encourage desistance. A Prison Officer in one of the prisons participating in the research also pointed out that the visits helped to reduce the sense of hopelessness associated with imprisonment:

“A lot of these guys have lost hope, they’ve come into this prison, they’ve lost everything around them, they’ve burnt bridges with their family members. Some of these guys have nothing to live for anymore and I think the work that Pact do is phenomenal because it engages all the people again. It builds those bridges which is so important because these guys got hope.”

To read the report in full please click here