Hidden Sentence Training

Support for professionals working with children and families affected by the criminal justice system.

A view of a prison yard from behind bars

''I found the session extremely useful and am far more confident in working with families - highly recommend for all professionals.''

''The information and resources were helpful; giving me a better idea of what is available to support offenders and their families''

''The training was enjoyable and informative, providing information that was helpful and relevant - would recommend''

Because families serve sentences too

The Lord Farmer review (2017) 'The Importance of Strengthening Prisoners' Family Ties to Prevent Reoffending and Reduce Intergenerational Crime' highlighted the need to understand and respect ''the roles families can play in boosting rehabilitation'' and that ''consistently good family work, which brings men face-to-face with their enduring responsibilities, is indispensable.''

At Spurgeons, we know that prisoners' families serve their own hidden sentences when a family member is sent to prison. It can be hard to find support for a variety of reasons.

It can impact families' financial, practical and emotional well-being, negatively influencing their contact and relationships during and after imprisonment.

Hidden Sentence is a short course for professionals who work with families, giving them an overview of the issues facing prisoners' families who are affected by the criminal justice system and a range of strategies and resources to help support them.

Learning outcomes:

  • Consider the current context and the families' journey through the criminal justice system
  • Explore the impact of imprisonment and separation on families, children and society
  • Consider the needs and wishes of individual families
  • Consider how these might be addressed through partnership work with statutory/voluntary provision and support resources available
  • Reflect on how the insight gained will affect your practice.

To enquire about a space please contact: vbaird@spurgeons.org


Are you supporting a child with a parent in prison?


Supporting a child with a parent in prison, might be something you never thought you would have to do. The situation may be complicated and you may be navigating the criminal justice system for the first time.

But when a child's parent goes to prison, it's important to talk to the child about what's happening. They might be confused, sense something is happening, or they might even have already found out some other way.

At Spurgeons we have worked with prisoner's families for years and have drawn from this expertise to create a series of animations to help you have those necessary conversations to children in your care.

Support for families

Spurgeons delivers a variety of activities and programmes to support both fathers in prison and their families.

Tom Ambler, with Selena, Johnny and Tommy

Invisible Walls

Read about our award-winning Invisible Walls service at HMP Winchester


The Art of Being a Dad

This online multimedia exhibition features creative work produced by fathers in the prisons we work in. It includes moving stories and poetry from the dads explaining what it’s like to be in prison and away from their families, and what their children mean to them.

Tom Ambler, with Selena, Johnny and Tommy

Family days

Our family days are a way for children to connect with their parent in prison


StoryBook Dads

Hear about how the StoryBook Dad programme works with fathers in prison

Family drawing

Top Tips for Families

Read our guide to supporting a child with a parent in prison

Sonny Maughan with Lavant and Arabella

Further Information

Support services and useful links for families affected by imprisonment

Offering a Helping Hand

Offering a Helping Hand is a new booklet, which addresses the impact of Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) and other indeterminate sentences on prisoners and their families.

The booklet is a joint publication by Spurgeons and Southampton Law School and draws on collaborative work and families of those serving IPP sentences carried out by Associate Professor at the Law School, Dr Harry Annison. It is also informed by insights provided by Spurgeons' Invisible Walls team at HMP Winchester.


Hope for Every Child

Your gift can make a difference

Follow the story