In public discussions and often also in scientific literature, the debate on offenders and crime primarily focuses on the current crime, the crimes committed in the past, and the sanctions imposed. However, very important questions about what led the perpetrator to go down this criminal path are, by and large, ignored. Furthermore, the collateral damage of sanctions, especially imprisonment, on family members (in particular children) is largely disregarded. This article provides an overview of existing research results (primarily from Germany and the USA) on the consequences of custodial sentences for female partners and children of male detainees. Previous studies have clearly shown that the detention of a parent, especially the mother, generally has extremely negative effects on the socialisation of affected children, and that this can consequently lead to delinquency. In addition, it should be noted that detainees invariably come from disadvantaged social circumstances, which further contributes to the cross-generational transmission of deviant behaviour.