n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Psychosocial needs of the children of incarcerated parents

Volume 22, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



The escalating crime rate in South Africa is of serious concern to all sectors of the population. Children often become the unintended secondary victims of their parent's criminal behaviour, and are negatively affected by their parent's incarceration. The National Institute for Crime Prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders (NICRO), has been rendering offender reintegration services, which is a crucial component of NICRO's crime prevention strategy, for the past 90 years. The Offender Reintegration Programme is geared towards facilitating the successful reintegration with society of offenders released from corrections while simultaneously assisting incarcerated persons and families of all clients by providing an integrated, comprehensive developmental and social service. This specific programme has been implemented in the towns of Kimberley and Springbok in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. Even though family intervention is done and support is given, there is very limited focus on the specific needs of the children in those families. Therefore the need for research exploring the needs of children was identified in order to assist the organisation with the implementation of social work services. The study can mainly be regarded as of a qualitative nature, although the standardised measuring instrument that was used could be regarded as a quantitative component of the study. All appropriate ethical principles were strictly adhered to in the study. Research on children with incarcerated parents is methodologically limited and the study used relatively small samples and inadequate comparison groups. Certain theoretical perspectives, as well as the impact of incarceration on children and families, were studied. The findings and discussion dwelled mainly on the children's experience of the incarceration of their parent, the needs of these children arising from the absence of the parent as well as specific services rendered and the quality of these services.

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