Corrections Victoria: Supporting Parents in Prison

The Centre for Evidence and Implementation (CEI) worked with Corrections Victoria and other partners to research the effectiveness of mother and children programs in prisons. Our research findings are now helping to inform strategies for supporting incarcerated mothers and their children in Victoria.

The imprisonment rate for women in Victoria is increasing. In 2013, around 403 women were in prison on any given day—an increase from 310 in 2009. When a mother is imprisoned, her dependent children are affected too. Corrections Victoria’s Mothers and Children Program, like similar programs worldwide, helps to foster the mother-child relationship while the mother is in prison and diminish the impact of a mother’s imprisonment on her child.

CEI worked with Corrections Victoria to compile and review existing evaluations of mother and children’s programs in national and international prisons.

The review focused on answering three main questions:

  • Are prison nurseries harmful or helpful for children’s wellbeing?
  • Are prison nurseries harmful or helpful for mothers’ parenting skills and wellbeing?
  • Do prison nurseries increase or decrease mothers’ recidivism?

The review was undertaken in partnership with the University of Melbourne, School of Health Sciences, and the Peabody Research Institute at Vanderbilt University.

The final report can be viewed here.