Families, Relationships and Societies
An international journal of research and debate

‘Never mind, we can’t help you’: young people’s experiences of the imprisonment of a sibling

Author: Kirsty Deacon1
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  • 1 Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, , UK
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While there has been an increasing focus on familial imprisonment within academic literature, policy and practice, where this is in respect of children and young people this has tended to focus on their parents. This narrow view of family has seen the omission of sibling imprisonment experiences from these narratives. This article explores these experiences through in-depth interviews with seven young people, aged 17–22 at the time of their interviews, but also reflecting back on when they were children and younger teenagers. By exploring aspects of loss, the barriers to being able to maintain sibling relationships in a prison, and the potentially lasting impacts on these relationships, it argues the need to recognise family more widely than we currently do. This is both in terms of not focusing solely on parental imprisonment, but also the recognition of family through their ‘practices’ and ‘display’: what they do rather than what they are.

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  • 1 Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, , UK

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