Our thanks to George for this. The start of the piece:
Prisoners are being banned from seeing their children as a punishment, leaving thousands of youngsters “traumatised” and inmates more likely to reoffend, campaigners have warned.
Hundreds of children are having contact time with their fathers cut to just two hours a month, as a privileges scheme in prisons reduces visiting hours if inmates fail to show “positive and motivated” behaviour.
Campaigners say the system, known as the Incentives and Earned Privileges (IEP) Scheme, is “cruel and damaging” to the children of prisoners and counterproductive in efforts to rehabilitate inmates.
Changes to the scheme in 2013 saw male prisoners entitled to “basic” visiting rights, which give them just two hours a month to see their children. They can earn “enhanced” status, which raises the hours to four, by demonstrating motivation, seeking qualifications and helping other prisoners or staff.
But the new system has seen a growing number of inmates seeing their visits reduced, with the percentage of prisoners on basic status having increased by 52 per cent between 2012 and 2014 – amounting to 900 more prisoners – while those on enhanced status decreased by 16 per cent, 5,900 fewer.
Visiting rights are different in women’s prisons, where guidelines state that children “should not be penalised from visiting or contacting their mother because of the mother’s behaviour” and that the number of visits by children “should not be restricted in order to serve the needs of an incentive scheme”. [J4MB: Our emphasis.]
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