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A new report by children’s charity Barnardo’s has highlighted a distinction in the way male and female prisoners are treated when in comes to contact with their children.

The findings confirm that an incentive focused scheme in place in men’s prisons is being used to deny fathers contact rights with their children, as a way of enforcing discipline.

The scheme does not exist in women’s prisons, where it is policy that children should not penalised for their mothers’ conduct.

Punishments in male prisons under the scheme include limiting contact time, and invasive searches of children who come to visit their fathers in prison, have also been noted. The reduction in legal aid has also left many fathers in prison struggling to challenge unlawful convictions, which in turn has impacted their ability to see their children due to the way the scheme operates.

The report calls for a change in the way male prisons view contact sessions between fathers and their children and the Ministry of Justice has confirmed that it will be looking to improve the state of visits between fathers in prison and their children as part of their wider prison reforms.

Our question to you then, is just this: do you think there are legitimate reasons for the different philosophies on child contact in UK prisons, or is the scheme above plainly wrong? 

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