Commemorative session on children and adolescents in prison with their caregivers, Universidad Autónoma de Chiapas, 28th June 2022


Within the context of the 10th Anniversary of the Institute of Judicial Studies at Universidad Autónoma de Chiapas a session on children and adolescents with mothers and fathers in prison was celebrated. Three panelists, moderated by Corina Giacomello, shared information on different practices at international level and also specifically within the context of Latin America. Our colleague, Chiara Altafin, from the Global Campus, provided an overview of the key findings of the Global Study, which estimates that 19,000 children live with their caregivers in prison. Following the question whether deprivation of liberty with a caregiver should be permitted at all, Ms. Altafin reflected on the adverse consequences for children when living in prison with their primary caregiver, but also when being separated from them, and the need for individualised approaches to safeguard the best interest of the child. A second intervention was provided by Luciano Cadoni, from the platform NNAPES, who shared that at least 2.300.000 children are affected by the imprisonment of their parent(s) in the region of Latin America and Caribbean. Mr Cadoni further shared key findings of the study “Invisibles: ¿hasta cuándo?”, and named some of the common challenges that children with a parent in prison experience, namely: stigma, discrimination and shame, emotional stress, but also financial difficulties which affect educational trajectories. Estefanny Sessa, from Gurises Unidos, and third panelist, could confirm many of these, as she had experienced them herself when her father was imprisoned. Ms Sessa was 15 years old at that time, and had to take over responsibilities to take care of her ill mother and younger brother. She provided insights on the discrimination she lived by colleagues, the negative experiences with police officers when visiting her father, and the lack of support from the State, which led her to abandon her studies and to work to maintain her family. Ms Sessa further shared that she was supported especially by Gurises Unidos, whose help was very important after the passing away of her mother, while she was still a minor. Some of the recommendations she provided for States can be summarised as follows: financial and psychological support for children and families while a caregiver is in prison, ensure the respectful and dignified treatment for persons during prison visits and support familiars after release to find a job.


Click here to re-watch the full session.