On November 17 we held an event entitled ‘ Prisoners and looked after children – a common cause?’ The roundtable was full to capacity, with many delegates representing organisations working directly with people in need. The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies' Research Director, Roger Grimshaw, presented the case for a new social policy on poverty that introduces a principle of reparation for the harms experienced by individuals.
An international literature review, published by the Centre, has reinforced awareness that children looked after by local authorities and prisoners often have impoverished backgrounds, experience risks of deprivation while in institutions, and face enhanced prospects of poverty after leaving care. Any effective anti-poverty strategy cannot ignore these needs. In findings published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in August 2014, Roger Grimshaw set out a new strategic approach to reducing poverty among children looked after by local authorities and among prisoners.
Christopher Stacey, from UNLOCK, and David Graham, from the Careleavers’ Association, gave graphic accounts of the difficulties and challenges faced by young people leaving care and people with criminal convictions in establishing decent lives with few resources. We will be reporting the discussion to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, which sponsored the event, so that they can develop their anti-poverty strategy. Comments from attenders will also feature in the March issue of Criminal Justice Matters alongside specially commissioned articles as part of a themed section on institutional care and poverty.