Hidden Sentence Training

Hidden Sentence Training

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.

At Spurgeons, we know that prisoners' family serve their own hidden sentence 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. 

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

Hidden sentence: learning objectives:

  • 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 and reflect on how the insight gained will affect your practice
  • Consider how these might be addressed through partnership work with statutory/voluntary provision and support resources available

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

Because families serve a hidden sentence 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.'' 

Enquire about course spaces

To enquire about spaces on the hidden sentence course:

Further training - Down the Line 

This training is designed to assist professionals to explore further the journey taken by families through the criminal justice system when a family member is imprisoned. The session looks in depth at two different family case studies which highlight the following areas

  • Changes in family responsibilities and children becoming young carers
  • Intergenerational cycles of offending
  • Safeguarding and child protection concerns

This has been designed specifically as a training tool for multi-agency professionals who work directly with families and aims to highlight the importance of challenging personal views and misconceptions to effectively support families in need.

Parenting Programmes in Surrey illustration

Session aims

  • To increase awareness of the support needs of families affected by imprisonment
  • To explore personal views/responses and preconceptions and consider how these might affect practice
  • To help break down the stigma surrounding imprisonment by enabling open and honest debate and discussion
  • To empower those working with children and families to work collaboratively and improve joint practice
  • To enable you to create an action plan to implement and improve practice within your organisation

Contact us

Information for professionals

Explore further information for professionals. 

Professionals information

Offering a helping hand

Offering a Helping Hand is booklet, published by Spurgeons, which addresses the impact of an IPP sentence

Offering a Helping Hand: IPP