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‘You Can’t Be Much of Anything from Inside’: The Implications of Imprisoned Fathers’ Parental Involvement and Generative Opportunities for Children’s Wellbeing

Susan Dennison is an Associate Professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Griffith University and currently holds an ARC Future Fellowship.

Holly Smallbone is a PhD candidate in clinical psychology at the School of Applied Psychology, Griffith University, in conjunction with the Netherlands Institute of the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement
(NSCR), VU University. Holly’s research focuses on the impact of parental imprisonment and children’s wellbeing, with a specific focus on the parent-child reunification period when a parent is released from prison.

This study utilises interviews with 64 imprisoned fathers in South East Queensland (Australia) to examine changes in parental involvement since imprisonment. Although the majority of fathers were engaged in parenting their children before imprisonment, during the imprisonment period this parenting ceased for one third of previously involved fathers. The majority of fathers also described difficulties in being positively involved in their children’s lives. Results are discussed in terms of men’s opportunities for role modelling, generative thinking within a prison environment and the potential intergenerational consequences of reduced father involvement for children’s wellbeing.

(2015) Vol 32 Law in Context p61

   
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