Building on an online child consultation developed by COPE and disseminated by members and affiliates, including Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT), the following report presents a detailed analysis of forty-eight children’s responses regarding their experiences and needs when visiting their parent in prison.

This report summarises insights gathered directly from children across ten countries (nine EU Member States) including Ireland, highlighting critical areas that require attention to make prisons more accommodating for children, indicates key findings and makes recommendations for changes that children wish to see and the common issues in prisons they want addressed.

Changes that children would like to see include:

  • Change the configuration of visiting rooms.
  • Be more empathetic towards both children and their parents.
  • Allow more outdoor activities between children and their parent.
  • Facilitate the course of the meeting between the child and the parent.
  • Clearly explain to children what is happening.
  • Ensure that children have access to longer and more frequent prison visits.
  • Making access to prison easier for children with physical needs or neurodivergent conditions.

Children want adults to stop:

  • Forbidding physical touch.
  • Behaving in a strict and unfriendly way towards them.
  • Using drug dogs during security checks.
  • Mistreating the imprisoned parent when the child is present.
  • Threatening children with the prospect of imprisonment if they don’t behave well.

Read the full report ‘How can we make prison spaces more child-friendly for children visiting a parent?