The Blog

Prison Family Support Alliance launched!

Prison Family Support AlliancePOPS are pleased to announce the launch of the Prison Family Support Alliance, made up of PACT, POPS, NEPACS, and Jigsaw.

The Prison Family Support Alliance brings together the knowledge and expertise of four charities each of whom have a long history of campaigning around issues for offenders’ families and their children. The Alliance has been established to develop the practice base for the provision of family support services and was recently successful in being selected by the Ministry of Justice to become the ‘framework provider’ for prison-based family support workers.

Attending the launch event in Canary Wharf was Prisons Minister Jeremy Wright MP who underlined the importance of family engagement “We know that families can play an important role in supporting an offender to make and sustain those changes which reduce re-offending.”

“This is one of the reasons why we recently announced the location of 70 resettlement prisons across England and Wales. Prisoners will now be sent to prisons close to where they will live on release so they can keep in contact with their families and begin working towards their rehabilitation in the community.

“This alliance will work with prisoners and their families and help support our reforms to tackle our stubbornly high reoffending rates.”

There are an estimated 160,000 children in the UK who have a parent in prison. Breakdowns in family relationships upon release from custody have been linked with negative outcomes for children and contributing to high rates of parental reoffending.

Andy Keen-Downs, Chief Executive of Pact, emphasised the potential impact of prison-based family support workers in addressing safeguarding issues and in supporting family relationships to help reduce reoffending rates. He estimated that an investment of just £6m would enable family support workers to be placed in each of the 124 prisons and YOIs in England and Wales. This investment could reap savings of more than £70m through reductions in parental re-offending and the number of children taken into care.

Diane Curry OBE, POPS CEO, commenting on the launch highlighted why families are so important.

“Children and families of offenders are a vital component in an offenders’ desistance from further criminal activity.”

“The pan-European COPING research published recently has also underlined the right of offenders’ children to be acknowledged and supported on issues that they themselves identify, such as stigma and bullying. Family Support Workers are a key component in ensuring their voices are heard”

POPS continue to be committed to raising awareness of the importance of empowering families and the need for integrated support services. To find out more about the Prison Family Support Alliance contact us on 0161 702 1000.