Get It Off Your Chest

Copy of Board Introductions

In May 2021, POPS launched our ‘Get It Off Your Chest’ campaign. In early 2021, POPS was approached by a family member who had attended an online family forum run by POPS at a local prison. They were keen that after such a difficult year, the opportunity to access peer support and for issues to be aired and responded to, should be made more widely available.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused world-wide loss of life, severe social disruption and economic instability. Families with whom we work with directly have shared with us the highs and many lows of this past year. We have witnessed the extreme challenges, the hopes and the disappointments.

In launching the ‘Get It Off Your Chest’ campaign our hope was that families of prisoners from across the UK would find a space where they felt heard, where they could share their thoughts, hopes and concerns in a safe and supportive environment. The ‘Get It Off Your Chest’ report was conceived as part of the process but its content has been driven entirely by the families who contributed to the campaign.

POPS provided various methods by which families could engage with the process and share their experiences, recognising the fears families often carry about being identified and disadvantaged. These included an anonymous questionnaire, email submissions, voice notes and three Zoom conversations facilitated by POPS’ team members. The Zoom discussions were loosely structured around three themes emerging from initial conversations with family members; Lockdown, Health and Release. The resulting report covers these topics and more, recognising the diversity in experience of families supporting a loved one through a prison sentence.

In publishing this report we hope to shine a light on the challenges facing families with a loved one in prison, and to help families feel heard in a world where their voices are often ignored or invalidated.

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