Prison-based Family Support Services

Spurgeons runs family support services for prisoners and their families and friends who visit them, with a particular focus on children and strengthening family relationships.

We appreciate how important prison visits are for everyone involved. Our aim is to make them less daunting so that the time spent together helps families to re-connect in a positive way. We are always here to offer practical and emotional support.

''The staff in the Visitors Centre are very polite, caring, understanding and are always there to help you.'' - Visitor at HMP Elmley. Our experienced and knowledgable staff are on hand in the Visitors Centre before and after visits to offer support, guidance and information, especially to first-time visitors and those bringing children and young people.

''We always tell those we support that we are not interested in why they are in prison; we are here for them as a dad.'' - Kerry, Family Services Manager at HMP Winchester. Our approach to working with fathers in prison is to see them as dads first and foremost, to encourage them to be positive and pro-active in their parenting role and to be the best parent they can be. The sessions we run are practical and non-judgemental.

''These visits are very important to me and my family. The freedom we have together, away from other prisoners is the main reason. (It) helps to bond with your children on a better level.'' - Resident at HMP Norwich. We enable children to spend more 'normal' time with their dads through Family Days in school holidays, Baby Bonding visits and Homework Clubs. These have sadly had to be suspended due to Covid-19 but we are finding safe ways to keep the communication going between dads and their children with activity packs and specific projects like Storybook Dads.

Where we work

Spurgeons delivers family support services in 12 prisons across England. Select a location to view visiting information and read more about services available:

Support for families

Spurgeons delivers a variety of activities and programmes to support both fathers in prison and their families. 

Tom Ambler, with Selena, Johnny and Tommy

Invisible Walls

Read about our award-winning Invisible Walls service at HMP Winchester


StoryBook Dads

Hear about how the StoryBook Dad programme works with fathers in prison

Tom Ambler, with Selena, Johnny and Tommy

Family days

Our family days are a way for children to connect with their parent in prison

Family drawing

Top Tips for Families

Read our guide to supporting a child with a parent in prison

Sonny Maughan with Lavant and Arabella

Further Information

Support services and useful links for families affected by imprisonment

Offering a Helping Hand

Offering a Helping Hand is a new booklet, which addresses the impact of Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) and other indeterminate sentences on prisoners and their families.

The booklet is a joint publication by Spurgeons and Southampton Law School and draws on collaborative work and families of those serving IPP sentences carried out by Associate Professor at the Law School, Dr Harry Annison. It is also informed by insights provided by Spurgeons' Invisible Walls team at HMP Winchester.


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