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Trinidad and Tobago: "Allow children to visit parents in prison"

Opposition Member of Parliament for Barataria Dr Fuad Khan intends introducing a motion in the Lower House of Parliament to discuss and treat with the issue of children left to grow up without their imprisoned parents.

He believes that children should be allowed frequent visits with parents in prison.

In a statement, Khan noted that the Golden Grove prison in Arouca allowed children to share a special visit with their mothers on Mother’s Day.

He said: “it is a reminder that many of these children may be kept away from their mothers for much of their adolescent lives. How can we expect that these children would therefore carry on in their development in the same manner as those who grow up under the care of their parents? But more importantly, how can we allow this problem to persist with the knowledge and understanding of what may become of the child in this situation?

Khan said the incarceration of a parent is likely to compound the disadvantages their children face, setting them further behind, and contributing to racial and social class inequalities.

“Having a parent in prison or jail has been scientifically linked to a greater incidence of a variety of conditions, including poor physical health, attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD), behavioral or conduct problems, learning disabilities, anxiety, and developmental delays. In particular, children with an incarcerated parent were more than three times more likely to have behavioral problems or depression than similar children without an imprisoned parent, and at least twice as likely to suffer from learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD, and anxiety”.

He said: “It is for this reason that I intend to introduce a motion in the Lower House of Parliament to discuss and treat with this endemic while it is still treatable. Children would have the ability to visit with their mothers, and fathers, who may be incarcerated regularly to ensure that their connection is unbroken and so that the child may develop in a more wholesome environment”.

Khan said these visits can dispel fears, support attachment, support dealing with reality, and can even provide the opportunity for improving relationships, and are especially important for children under the age of eight“.

He believes that children should be allowed frequent visits with parents in prison.

In a statement, Khan noted that the Golden Grove prison in Arouca allowed children to share a special visit with their mothers on Mother’s Day.

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