Since the broadcast of the Radio 4 ‘Four Thought’ podcast at the end of June 2021, it has been exciting and encouraging to be inundated with messages from people who want to do something to address the issues raised in the podcast.
Listed on this page are some organisations that work across the range of issues raised in the programme. All have agreed to have their details shared here and have provided the information listed under their names. It is by no means a comprehensive list as some organisations didn’t wish to be included on this website.
I have no personal affiliation with any organisation beyond an interest in their work.
I hope that together we can work to achieve change.
Birth Companions is a charity specialising in the needs and experiences of pregnant women and mothers of infants in contact with the criminal justice system. The organisation has campaigned tirelessly for 25 years to improve responses to these women, by shaping policy and practice in prisons and in the community.
Clean Break uses theatre to keep the subject of women in prison on the cultural radar, helping to reveal the damage caused by the failures of the criminal justice system. Through our unique work, we raise difficult questions, inspire debate, and help to effect profound and positive change in the lives of women with experience of the criminal justice system.
Through theatre workshops and projects in prisons and in the community which build confidence, resilience and wellbeing, we transform the lives of women who have experienced the criminal justice system or who are at risk of entering it. Our vision is of a society where women are neither unjustly criminalised nor unnecessarily imprisoned, and we believe that theatre enables women to challenge their oppression by society in general and by the criminal justice system in particular.
Families Outside is the only national charity in Scotland that works solely on behalf of families affected by imprisonment. To achieve this we offer direct support to families via our Helpline and our Regional Family Support Coordinators.
We provide training and information to a host of professionals who come into contact with families affected by imprisonment. These include, but are not limited to, teachers, social workers, health professionals, the police, and prison staff.
We also conduct research and provide information and resources to our supporters, funders, and government highlighting the issues affecting families and campaigning to improve policy and practice so that families are better provided for.
Some of our needs are for: Fundraising, IT provision, volunteers, board members.
Another way people can help is simply to take an interest – to get informed and to share this information with others via blogs, articles, social media, whatever! We offer free webinars to provide an introduction to the impact of imprisonment on families and can provide resources for people to share in their workplace. Being willing to talk about it openly and in a non-judgemental way encourages people with this experience to share it, often for the first time.
Finally, our colleagues at KIN (an arts collective of young people with experience of a close family member’s imprisonment – part of arts-based criminal justice charity Vox Liminis) are often looking for input, especially from people with arts-based skills (music, composing, painting, video, photography, theatre, etc.)
Out There is a charity providing emotional and practical support and an information service for families of prisoners in Greater Manchester. It is a ‘whole family service’ and we help prisoners’ families maintain contact with their imprisoned family member and in practical ways ameliorate some of the harmful effects caused by the experience of imprisonment on innocent family members.
The Prison Advice and Care Trust (Pact) is a national charity that provides support to prisoners, people with convictions, and their families. We support people to make a fresh start, and minimise the harm that can be caused by imprisonment to people who have committed offences, to families and to communities.
What we do:
- Build stronger families and safer communities.
- Reduce risk of harm to prisoners and their children.
- Remove barriers and increase awareness in public services.
- Influence commissioning, policy and legislation
For people personally affected
The Prisoners Families Helpline is open 7 days a week 0808 808 2003 for all those personally affected by imprisonment of a loved one.
Free resources for social workers, schools, police, and other professionals
For professionals working with CYP/Carers/Families – there is a collection of free resources here: https://www.prisonadvice.org.uk/Pages/Category/for-professionals
here is our Women Flip the Script user voice campaign that we rang with WIP and Agenda
Police ‘Hear our Voice’ Training and Consultancy and Hidden Sentence Training for professionals
for all enquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org
We are promoting volunteering opportunities including opportunities for people to work from home. During Covid, we built a telephone befriending service to provide support by phone or zoom to prisoners’ families. We have just over 50 vetted, trained, supervised volunteers supporting people at present. We need more volunteers for the Prisoners Families Helpline – again – working from home.
Our Volunteering Portal is here: https://app.betterimpact.com/PublicEnterprise/3c63cdeb-1afa-4b6a-9540-1c182dbd3dd8
The Angel Tree project gives parents in prison the opportunity to send a Christmas present to their children. The programme lessens the devastation experienced as a result of parental absence by not only helping families connect and build relationships, but by providing children with much-needed joy. Please contact us to see how you can help us this Christmas.
Time Matters UK
Time-Matters UK, based in Merseyside, supports children who are impacted by parental imprisonment. We provide group support and individual support for children and young people aged 5yrs to 18yrs, both face to face and online, and welcome children from anywhere in the UK who might wish to join us. We also run adult support groups for both families on the outside, and prisoners, post release.
Women in Prison
Women in Prison is a national charity that supports women affected by the criminal justice system and campaigns to end the harm caused to women, their families and our communities by imprisonment.
Prison is a dead end that tears families and communities apart. However, the Government has announced plans to build 500 new prison places for women. There is another way, one that the Government knows works. We can invest in community-based services that support women to tackle the issues that sweep them into crime in the first place, like domestic abuse and poverty.
Together, we can #StopThe500 and ensure the Government does what’s right for women, their children and our communities. Please sign up to our campaign here:#Stopthe500
To sign up for our newsletter which will keep you updated on all ongoing campaigns please go to http://eepurl.com/hvhBxv