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Her Majesty’s Prison & Probation Service

Important Coronavirus (Covid-19) Update

The Gov.uk website has put together some frequently asked questions and responses relating to friends and family of prisoners during the coronavirus outbreak.

Visits Room Play Areas

We understand prisons can be frightening and non-stimulating environments for children, which can impact the quality of engagement whilst visiting their relatives. We ensure playrooms are bright, welcoming and well-equipped with a variety of age-appropriate toys, games and activities engaging children of all ages and cultural backgrounds.

Visitors Centres

Visitors centres are a visitors first experience of the prison and the beginning of their journey. We support families in a range of ways

  • Approachable, friendly and fully trained staff

  • Identifying and supporting first-time visitors; providing information and advice about visiting procedures and rules

  • Information libraries (complaints procedure, Assisted Prison Visits Scheme) translated into languages based on prisoners and visitors profiles

  • Signposting to a range of community support including housing and welfare advice

Enrichment Activities

We provide a range of enrichment activities to support strong family relationships.

  • Understand and provide flexible services, meeting individual needs

  • Promote Enrichment Activities across the prison

  • Support and advocate on behalf of fathers during social-care proceedings, working with probation and resettlement services supporting release plans to improve family ties and prevent reoffending

  • Work with the prison, always identifying additional needs of prisoners

Family Visits Days

We organise numerous family days across our network of prisons which are tailored to the varied needs of each establishment.

Family visit days are fun, engaging and welcoming and can be themed, focussing on Specific groups; E.g: New Dads, Expectant Fathers, Grandparents, Travelling communities, Teenage children

Family Advice and Interventions

  • We support families and prisoners with a range of interventions

  • “Hidden Sentence” training informing to raise awareness of the needs of families

  • "Being a Dad” training and support

  • "Time for You and Your Child” – a bespoke parenting programme preparing fathers in prison to make the most of family visits and develop parenting skills

  • Homework clubs; contacting schools arranging homework to be carried out with the father in prison

  • Supporting children with disabilities

  • Parenting and family support including action planning

  • Learning through play

  • Cooking Together

  • Mediation/relationship building

  • Supporting adolescents, working with schools maintaining connections between the child’s education and father

  • Encouraging a range of different methods of contacting family members

  • Treasure and memory boxes for prisoners with little or no contact

The HM Prison Service have launched its new online Prison Visits Booking service. The new system will run alongside the current process but will offer a quicker, easier and more convenient route for both visitors and booking staff.

People wanting to book social visits to friends or family in prison will be able to use www.gov.uk/prison-visits to select dates and times which are convenient to them. These preferred dates are then reviewed and approved/declined by the prison in question. The prison will then confirm details with the visitor by e-mail. Visits can be booked up to 28 days ahead and requests will be responded to within three working days of the request being made. The new service is available to female, youth and adult male prisons, category B and below, within the public sector Prison Service throughout England and Wales. It is not available to private sector or prisons within the High Security Estate at present.

Useful Websites

Offenders' families helpline

Tel: 0808 808 2003
Web: www.offendersfamilieshelpline.org

Assisted Prison Visits Unit

Address: PO Box 2152, Birmingham, B15 1SD
Tel: 0845 300 1423 (Mon to Fri 10:15-11:45 & 14:15-15:45)
Textphone: 0845 304 0800 (times as above)
Fax: 0121 626 3474 (24 hrs)
Email: assisted.prison.visits@noms.gsi.gov.uk

Prisoners’ family and friends service

Tel: 0800 808 3444
Web: www.pffs.org.uk

Email a prisoner

Support for families suffering because of drug and alcohol abuse

Government information for visiting somebody in prison

Prison Service Instructions (PSIs) and Prison Service Orders (PSOs)

(the rules and regulations by which the Prison Service is governed)

Web: www.justice.gov.uk/offenders/psis | www.justice.gov.uk/offenders/psos

Action for Prisoners' Families

(a membership organisation for prisoners' and offenders' families and those who work with them)

Web: www.prisonersfamilies.org.uk

The Prison Advice & Care Trust (pact)

(a charity that provides practical and emotional support to prisoners' children, families, and to prisoners themselves)

Web: www.prisonadvice.org.uk

First Time In Prison

(practical advice for those who may be facing their first prison sentence)

Web: www.firsttimeinprison.co.uk

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