Annual Report to Children and Young People 2020-2021

The Commissioner commends the Department for Correctional Services on several recent initiatives that recognise the parenting status of women in South Australia’s prisons, including the Mothers Matter program and infrastructure changes to make visiting spaces more family friendly.

While these are important steps with positive outcomes for children, the Women’s Framework and Action Plan is an opportunity to drive further change at a systemic level to consider children’s rights and improve the support provided to children with a parent or primary carer in prison.

Drawing on direct insights from children, young people and incarcerated mothers, the Commissioner recommends that:

  1. The Department for Correctional Services prioritise child- and family-focused actions in the next Women’s Framework and Action Plan, with particular regard to:
    1. Embedding consideration of children’s rights and best interests in decisions, policies and procedures.
    2. Providing dedicated information and support for children and young people.
    3. Promoting meaningful family connections, with a focus on visits and prison environments, training for staff, and parenting programs.