Thank you for subscribing to the Prison Advice and Care Trust e-newsletter. To find out more about what we do, please visit
Donate Now »
Follow on Twitter Follow Us On Twitter
Friend on Facebook Friend Us On Facebook
Forward to Friend Forward To A Friend

"Mammy I've found you - I've been looking for you everywhere" 

Sunday 6th March marks Mother’s Day when there will be approximately 17,000 children separated from their Mothers by imprisonment. Click here  to read the story of just one of the Mothers our team have supported through our Big Lottery funded project “Visiting Mum” at Eastwood Park prison in Gloucestershire.

February Edition: Women in the criminal justice system

Welcome to the February edition of our e-Newsletter! With Mother's Day just around the corner, this month we will focus on women and Mothers in the criminal justice system.

Meet Priscilla

Ever wondered what it’s like working in the criminal justice system? Every month we will be speaking to a different member of the Pact team. This month meet Priscilla, a Family Engagement Worker at Brixton Prison, and read what she has to say as a woman working in the criminal justice system. ​

“There’s no such thing as a typical day for me here at Brixton, literally anything can happen! After I’ve checked my emails I then head out onto the wings to catch up with the men I’m working with and provide them with updates on their cases, or just to check in and see how they’re doing.
For those men who have good relationships with family on the outside we do all we can to maintain and build on those relationships. That might involve taking part in our 'Family Literacy in Prisons' and parenting programmes we run at the prison, or recording a Storybook Dads CD, where the men can make a CD of themselves reading a story which is sent out to their child. We also come across a lot of men who have lost contact with family members, for a variety of reasons. In these cases we would discuss what factors have led to the family breakdown and whether it is the best interests of those involved for contact to be re-established. This often involves liaison with other agencies, such as social services and probation. We get most of our referrals from attending a weekly induction of prisoners new to Brixton where we introduce the services we offer, but we also get referrals from other agencies working within the prison, prison officers and from the Pact national helpline.
For me, Family Engagement Work is so important because we are providing support not just to the prisoners we work with, but to their children and families in the community. What makes us unique is that we don’t just offer practical support, we also offer emotional support, taking the time to talk to the prisoners and their families during what is often an incredibly difficult time”.

Katie's Story
Last summer, Katie was sentenced to 3 years in prison, leaving her 10 year old son Nathan to live with her Mother, Sandra. In the first week of her sentence Katie really struggled being apart from her son and in the months that followed she became increasingly distressed when Sandra stopped bringing Nathan to visit her.

Katie was desperate to make contact with Sandra and in October she approached the Pact Family Engagement Worker to ask for help.
The Family Engagement Worker listened to Katie’s story and tried to call Sandra. Eventually, after several attempts, Sandra called the Family Engagement Worker back and explained how upset she was with her daughter and that she didn’t want to see her or to bring Nathan to visit her.
After hearing this news Katie became even more depressed but the Family Engagement Worker continued to talk to her and support her. The Worker also maintained contact with Sandra, who eventually agreed to a direct phone call with her daughter. The conversation went really well and Katie was able to show her mum how determined she was to continue to be a good parent to her son and to maintain a positive relationship with him until she could return home.
With the continued support and commitment of the Family Engagement Worker, Sandra has arranged to bring Nathan in for a visit later this month and the relationship between her and her daughter is on the mend.

Supporter News 
Thank you to the various Catholic Parishes, staff and students at St Mary’s University and the Hillsong Church in London who helped to launch our Angel Tree Campaign, ensuring that children with a parent in prison received a Christmas present from them. To find out more about it please contact our Parish and Supporter Relations Manager by clicking here

Europe's largest female prison to close

As part of the government’s plans to sell off outdated prisons and use the cash generated to build more modern facilities, it was announced that HMP Holloway, which holds over 500 female inmates, will close its doors as of summer 2016. 

After nearly 150 years as a prison, Holloway will shut down and whilst most prisoners could be moved to HMP Bronzefield near Heathrow Airport and HMP Downview near Sutton, some could be moved as far as Eastwood Park in South Gloucestershire and Peterborough. 
Whilst Pact welcomes the news that the government plans to build more up to date facilities, we are concerned that prisoners will be moved further away from their families, making it difficult for them to visit and causing further damage to family ties. We know that maintaining family relationships can help reduce reoffending by up to 39% and that it is effective in reducing the risk of self-harm and suicide.
We are working hard to support the women and their families who will be affected by this move - many of whom will be confused and frightened.

We will be contributing to a roundtable event with Ministers, including Prisons Minister Andrew Selous, to discuss the planned closure as well as broader policy and will be inviting a group of service users to share their experiences and concerns.  

Dr Gemma Simmonds talks women in the criminal justice system at Harold Hood Lecture

In November last year we were delighted that Dr Gemma Simmonds CJ gave the annual Harold Hood Memorial Lecture on the role of women in the criminal justice system. If you missed it please click here to read a full transcript. To express an interest for this year’s event please email Dan McNamara. 

A message from our Chaplain

Pact's Chaplain, Jo Hornby asks what will your legacy be? Reflecting on the work of those who support the families of prisoners, prisoners themselves, and ex-offenders. To find out more about leaving us a gift in your Will, please email our Legacy Officer Dan McNamara. 

"In our office prayer lunches we've been looking at what Jesus meant when he spoke about not storing up treasures in a place where they can be corrupted or destroyed. He was very assuredly concerned with our knowing the treasure within us, and that we take very good care of it.
Loving the people in our lives, and through them loving God is the most important work we will do. Jesus was never about power or wealth and he and his followers demonstrated that love and caring were far more important than making money. Their actions changed the face of the world; Rome couldn't match those followers of The Way and ultimately Rome fell. The legacy of love and care for each other that those early followers showed is with us still.

Jesus spoke of loving our neighbour as ourselves and that is surely an injunction that although sometimes is difficult, is the way in which the Kingdom of Heaven was demonstrated by Jesus and continues to challenge us to deeper love, giving, and service."

Copyright © 2016 Prison Advice and Care Trust, All rights reserved.
Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp
unsubscribe from this list | update subscription preferences