These are difficult times for prisoners and their families. Visits are resuming slowly but are quite different and many prisoners, depending on the Covid restrictions in their prison/county, will still be spending a lot of time locked up and can't access work/education or other services. This is due to the need to adhere to social distancing measures and is necessary to minimise the risk of a serious outbreak in prisons.

Over the past few months some of our member prisons have been able to return and offer a recording service, but for many this still isn’t possible because in many prisons we still can’t work directly with prisoners.  

What we’re doing to help

In response to Covid restrictions we implemented two new projects in 2020 which do not require face to face contact with prisoners.

Families of Film:  Families can send us short films of their children with a special message which we can process and put on a DVD to be given to their loved one in prison. Click here for more information.

Swaps:  A pack of activity sheets are delivered to the prisoner (to complete in cell) and an identical pack is sent to their child at home. Once they’re both complete we ‘swap’ them.  These activity sheets are a fun and creative way for prisoners and their children to learn interesting and fun stuff about each other.  

The above projects are only running in some prisons, depending on their staff time and resources.  Contact us for more information.

Kids Zone: We have added a Kids Zone to our website which includes resources and activities for children and below we have listed advice, support and guidance from other organisations.

Bedtime stories: Prisons are slowly starting to return to a bit of normality and some of our member prisons have resumed recordings of CD or DVD bedtime stories. 

Support, advice and guidance

Essential Government Q&A: for friends and family of prisoners, from the Ministry of Justice. Updated regularly as things change. Click here for the Q&A

The National Prisoners’ Families Helpline can support you if a family member is in contact with the criminal justice system. Contact the helpline on 0808 808 2003 (Free including most mobiles). Read more on the website

Email a Prisoner: Some prisons use a service called Email a Prisoner. If you send a message this way, it’ll be printed out and delivered by prison staff. Each email costs 40p and you need to buy credit to use the service. Click here to see which prisons offer this service

Families Outside: Scottish Charity helping families affected by imprisonment. Their Helpline, 0800 254 0088, provides impartial information and support. They also provide one to one support with their regional family team throughout Scotland. For more information, click here

Prison Chat UK: An online group of people who have loved ones in prison in the UK. They got together when they realised there was no support/char facility online available in the UK. The website is full of useful information and a chat forum. Click here to visit Prison Chat UK

Prison Voicemail: Their mission is to improve communication channels between people in prison and their family and friends, with the aim of relieving some of the causes of stress and isolation caused by imprisonment. Click here to see which prisons offer this service