Overview of the Study

We aim to assess the needs of an ethnically diverse sample of young fathers in prison and co-develop a programme to support family wellbeing. 

Our objectives are to:

  1. Assess the proportion of young fathers in an ethnically diverse sample of the prison population and examine their needs relating to family wellbeing and parenting in prison and on release

  2. Assess current and future needs of families who have a young father in prison

  3. Co-design a programme for young fathers in prison

  4. Assess the uptake, retention, and acceptability of the programme delivered in prison for young fathers

  5. Assess how best to integrate parenting support for young fathers and their families on release from prison

  6. Identify the most appropriate design and methodology for the future evaluation of a programme for young fathers in prison

Image by Mike Tinnion

Methods: Four Work Streams

Our study will run from December 2021 to November 2024. We will explore our aims and objectives through four work streams:

Work Stream 1 (April-December 2022): 

An initial phase of surveying and interviewing young men in four to five prison to assess their needs and understand their experiences of being a father in prison.


Work Stream 2 (July-December 2022): 

Interviews with families and people working in prisons, local authorities and the third sector to examine family needs and map out what currently exists in practice and policy.

Work Stream 3 (January-June 2023):

Carrying out a series of co-production workshops to develop a parenting programme and establish how best to deliver, implement and embed the programme in current pathways and models.

Work Stream 4 (July-October 2023):

A final stage to deliver the programme with a group of young fathers and gain their feedback for future development.

Throughout these work streams, we will engage and consult regularly with our public involvement group, which consists of people with lived experience of prison. We also plan to host a few events throughout the study to share our findings and thoughts. This will include an end of study event which will be open to all (TBC).

We are currently in the process of obtaining university ethics and HMPPS NRC approval.