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The Magnolia Project is underpinned by existing research that emphasises the importance of family connection. We highlight some of the important work below.

“Our work should encourage dads to get really involved in the loving care of their children at an early age… …their kids will be measurably better off”.

“Since it is common for children whose parents are incarcerated to feel abandoned and unloved, focusing on the quality of these interactions, however, should be a more important goal than focusing only on efforts to increase the frequency of visits”.

“All indicators point to the widespread benefit of increasing contact between inmates and their children”.

“Recent research on the importance for children to feel accepted and cared about by their parents provides strong evidence that these endeavors should continue and should expand”.

Daniel Blumberg and Dawn Griffin (2013). Family connections: The importance of prison reading programs for incarcerated parents and their children.  Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 52, 254–269.

“Children whose fathers are imprisoned are hidden victims of crime and punishment”. 

“Being unable to share day-to-day experiences strains a child’s relationships with loved ones in prison. Life on the inside cannot easily be shared with a child”.

“During the long separation of fathers and children, fathers reported a sense of frustration, of not knowing how to be a continuing part of their young children’s lives. Fathers described decreasing common interests between themselves and their children”. 

“Valuing and supporting a father’s contribution as a caring parent is a positive way to strengthen a weakening sphere of influence during incarceration”. 

Margaret Genisio (1996). Breaking barriers with books: A fathers’ book-sharing program from prison. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 40, 92-100.

“Having a family member incrcerated is also a major stressor on families, a process so stressful it has been described as ‘doing time together’.”

“Parental incarceration increases the risk for poorer child health across all four dimensions of health… health difficulties, chronic physical conditions, developmental disorders, and mental health conditions”

Dylan Jackson, Alexander Testa, Daniel Semenza and Michael Vaughn (2021). Parental Incarceration, child adversity and child health: A strategic comparison approach. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18, 3384.

“It’s more than just the children, the whole family seems to benefit hugely from it”.

Education Gazette editors (2019). Connecting prison dads with their children. Education Gazette (NZ) 98, 9.

For a new report on working with trauma in adult probation settings in the UK please look at:


See also…

Katherine J McLachlan (2022). Using a trauma-informed practice framework to examine how South Australian judges respond to trauma in the lives of Aboriginal defendants. Journal of Qualitative Criminal Justice & Criminology pre-print https://doi.org/10.21428/88de04a1.04778d50

This article uses a trauma-informed practice framework to examine how South Australian superior court judges acknowledge defendant trauma when sentencing Aboriginal defendants. Trauma-informed sentencing requires that judges realise the presence of trauma, recognise its relevance, respond in a way that is informed by trauma and act to avoid re-traumatisation. By analysing sentencing remarks of 42 defendants identified as Aboriginal, the presence of trauma-informed practice was explored, in terms of judicial decision-making, the sentencing process and the sanction imposed. While not holistic summaries of judges’ reasoning, sentencing remarks are intended to enable the parties and the community to understand sentencing logic. Analysis indicated that judges realised trauma was present in the lives of many Aboriginal defendants but did not always overtly recognise a link between trauma and criminal behaviour and were unlikely to refer to a defendant’s trauma history or use trauma-informed principles of practice in their sentencing response


Day, A., Newton, D., & Tamatea, A. (2021). Family interventions to prevent violence in prison. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology. doi: 10.1177/0306624X211023917

Day, A., Tamatea, A., & Geia, L. (2019). Towards effective throughcare approaches for Indigenous people leaving prison in Australia and New Zealand. Indigenous Justice Clearing House Research Brief 25, 1-8.

Malvaso, C., DelFabbro, P., & Day, A. (2018). Adverse childhood experiences in a South Australian sample of young people in detention. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology. doi:10.1177/0004865818810069

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