John Halewood-Dodd column

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Recent research has found that the offspring of those who receive prison sentences are significantly more likely to be involved in crime than those who have not endured such ignominy.

Apparently, over a third of children whose father has been ‘inside’ will have criminal convictions themselves.

Many in society would be mortified if their father were sent to prison, but from my experience some do not see any stigma attached to such a situation.

In fact, some portray this as something to brag about, as if it were an unofficial badge of honour that their father is behind bars.

Whether they are genuine in such assertions is debatable, but from what many of our younger clients say there is no deterrent effect for them in locking their father up.

I believe that we are influenced by the behaviour of our elders, and supposed betters.

If father has been involved in crime, and as such it becomes the norm within the family environment, then I would suggest that it would not be too much of a surprise that the children follow suit.

I know that this is not always what happens, but for many of our clients this seems to apply.

We obviously keep records of the clients that we represent and there are numerous examples of representing families through the generations.

Indeed, it makes me feel quite old to reflect upon the fact that I have personally represented second, and even third generation, family members.

Many seem untroubled by this and the best example of this was when I represented a young man, aged 20 or so, at Morecambe police station suspected of committing a burglary.

Having been bailed I waited with him whilst his father, also a client, arrived to collect him.

In the car with him was his grandson who was aged no more than three.

Both adults were keen to introduce me to the toddler who they seemed proud to tell me would be a client of mine in the future.

Unfortunately, for the young lad they were proved to be right.