What’s it like when your parent goes to prison?
Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - 20:30

Chloe was school captain in primary school. She did public speaking, debating and dreamt of becoming a lawyer.

But when she was 14 her father was sentenced to over six years in prison, with 4 years non-parole, and Chloe’s world changed entirely.

“Once my dad went in, it showed me that things can like happen out of the blue and my future went really blurry. I didn’t know what to do,” she tells Insight.

Since her father went to jail two years ago, Chloe has only attended a handful of days at school.

There are more than 43,000 children in Australia, like Chloe, who have a parent in prison. And with Australia’s prison population rapidly rising, that number is also steadily increasing

A 2015 survey by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found 17 per cent of people who entered prison that year also grew up with a parent or carer in prison.

For 17 year old “Brian”, that’s a reality. Brian’s parents were both in and out of prison throughout his childhood and he has spent every birthday in juvenile detention since he was 12 years old.

“Brian” says if his parents had been around, things might have been different.

“It’s just hard to cope. You know, it’s like carrying the world on your shoulder by yourself. You expect your mum and dad to be there to help you out”.

In this rare discussion, Insight puts the children of Australia’s inmates front and centre to share what it is like for young people when their parents are incarcerated.  Children of Prisoners, Tuesday October 30 on SBS and SBS On Demand.


Presenter: Jenny Brockie 

Producer: Milena Dambelli 

Associate producer: Maria Emmett 

Cadet: Milly Dunn 


For QLD, NSW, ACT and VIC you can contact Shine for Kids.

In SA you can contact Second Chances.