More than eight in ten men in prison suffered childhood adversity


The Prisoner ACE Survey: InfographicMale prisoners are much more likely than men in the wider population to have suffered childhood adversities such as child maltreatment or living in a home with domestic violence, according to a new report by Public Health Wales and Bangor University.

The Prisoner ACE Survey suggests that preventative action and early intervention to tackle Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) could prevent crime and reduce costs for the criminal justice system.

In this new survey of men in Her Majesty’s (HM) Prison Parc in Bridgend, South Wales, more than 8 in 10 (84 per cent) said they had experienced at least one Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) compared with a Welsh average of 46%.

Nearly half of prisoners (46%) reported they had experienced four or more ACEs. This compares to just over 1 in 10 (12%) in the wider population.

The report also found that prisoners with multiple ACEs (four or more) were four times more likely to have spent time in a young offender institution than those with no ACEs.

ACEs are traumatic experiences that occur before the age of 18.  They range from child verbal, mental, physical and sexual abuse, to being exposed to alcoholism, drug use and domestic violence at home.

Children who experience ACEs are more likely to adopt health-harming and anti-social behaviours as adults, are at much greater risk of poor health throughout life, and may have greater needs for support from healthcare and other public services.

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