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The experiences of Canadian children of prisoners

Knudsen, Else Marie (2016) The experiences of Canadian children of prisoners. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.571rho6zcil2


Long hidden from academic scrutiny, children of prisoners have recently become the subjects of much academic study, through a variety of disciplines and methods. However many issues within this topic remain under-examined. This study aimed to explore two such issues: the self-reported experiences of children of prisoners, and children in the Canadian context. This thesis analyses the results of qualitative interviews with children aged 6-17 who currently have a parent in prison (N=22). Employing a ‘sociology of childhood’ framework, this project seeks to centre the voice of children themselves, privileging their own views and meaning-making. These data are supplemented with other findings to provide context to children’s narratives, including: interviews with these children’s caregivers in the community (N=12); interviews with a variety of key informants; observations gathered during extensive recruitment efforts with families of prisoners; and reviews of existing policy documents and service provision specific to parental incarceration. The thesis begins with a review of the existing literature, followed by a description of the methods used in the present study. The analysis then begins in Chapter 4 with a discussion of the context of these children’s lives, with a particular focus on poverty. Moving to the data from children themselves, Chapters 5 and 6 explore children’s inner lives and immediate relationships, specifically their emotions about parental incarceration and relationships with their parents. Chapters 7 and 8 pull back to reveal children’s interactions with their communities, and Chapter 9 widens the lens further to explore their experiences within the social policy context. Through a variety of empirical findings and by telling the story of parental incarceration in Canada from a critical and child-centred perspective, this thesis contributes to the scholarly understanding of parental incarceration.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2016 Else Marie Knudsen
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Sets: Departments > Social Policy
Supervisor: Phillips, Coretta

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