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The Childhood, Law & Policy Network (CLPN)

Dr Fiona Donson


Senior Lecturer, School of Law, University College Cork, Ireland



Fiona Donson is a Senior Lecturer in Law and co-Director of the Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights in the School of Law, University College Cork, Ireland. She researches and teaches in the areas of penology, administrative and social justice, and children’s rights. Over the past decade she has been working with Dr Aisling Parkes to raise the profile of the rights of children with a parent or loved one in prison. She is currently Chair of the Action for Children and Families of Prisoners Network. and a member of Children of Prisoners Europe, the International Coalition for Children with Incarcerated Parents and the Oxford Global Prisoners' Families research group.



  • Donson, F. & Parkes, A. (eds) Parental Imprisonment and Children’s Rights (2021) Routledge 
  • Parkes, A., & Donson, F., “ The Rights of Prisoner’s Children in Ireland” in Hutton, M. & Moran, D., (eds.) Handbook
    on Prison and the Family (Palgrave, 201 9
  • Donson, F., “Children’s Rights and Social Policy” in McCann, G. O'Hadhmaill, F. (eds.) International Human Rights, Social Policy and Global Welfare: Critical Perspectives Policy Press
  • Parkes, A. & Donson, F., “ Developing a child’s right to effective contact with a father in prison an Irish Perspective”, in Flynn, C. & Butler, M., Imprisoned Fathers: Responding to a Growing Concern (Routledge,
  • Donson, F., & Parkes, A., “ Rights and Security in the Shadow of the Irish Prison: Developing a Child Rights Approach to Prison Visits in Ireland” in Conroy, R. & Scharff Smith, P., (eds.) Prisons, Punishment and the Family: Towards a New Sociology of Punishment (OUP, 2018)
  • Parkes A & Donson, ""Developing a child’s right to effective contact with a father in prison an Irish Perspective” (2018) 24 Child Care in Practice 148 163
  • Donson, F. & Parkes, A. "Weighing in the balance: Reflections on the sentencing process from a children’s rights perspective", (2016) 63 Probation Journal 331 346
  • Donson, F., ""Whose Rights? What Impact? The potential for the development of child impact statements on the Irish Criminal Justice System"" (2015) European Journal of Parental Imprisonment 10
  • Donson, F. & Parkes, A., “Sentencing: The impact of imprisonment on offenders’ children” (2013) Justice for Children of Prisoners 8
  • Donson, F. & Parkes, A., ‘Changing mindsets, changing lives: increasing the visibility of children’s rights in cases involving parental incarceration’ [2012] International Family Law 408 13


Children's rights; parental imprisonment; access to justice; administrative law; penology
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