Supporting families, promoting desistance? Exploring the impact of imprisonment on family relationships

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    Families affected by imprisonment are attracting growing research attention, inspired in no small part by the theorising of desistance scholars which suggests that families have a crucial role in reducing reoffending. Yet, these arguments have been critiqued by those who suggest that the prison has a damaging impact upon families, who therefore must be supported in their own right. This chapter will argue that adopting a more relational perspective, which recognises the central role of reciprocity in family life and desistance, can reveal new insights as to how both families and resettlement might be supported. However, given the high levels of social marginality experienced by many families, such approaches will always be limited. This calls into question models of desistance that suggest families can provide stocks of social capital, and gives cause to reflect on the true costs of imprisonment.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationNew Perspectives on Desistance
    Subtitle of host publicationTheoretical and Empirical Developments
    EditorsEmily Luise Hart, Esther F.J.C. van Ginneken
    Place of PublicationLondon
    PublisherPalgrave Macmillan Ltd.
    Number of pages24
    ISBN (Print)9781349951857, 9781349951840
    Publication statusPublished - 4 Jun 2017


    • imprisonment
    • families affected by imprisonment
    • desistance


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