Affected by imprisonment
How we help / Affected by imprisonment

Affected by imprisonment: Spurgeons Prison Family Support Services

Spurgeons runs family prison services and support for prisoners' families. Our aim is to help families reconnect in a positive way.

Spurgeons runs family and prisoner support services and provide further support for families of prisoners (UK) and those who visit them, with a particular focus on children and strengthening family relationships. 

Blossom with her Dad on a family day.

Support for prisoners’ families 

Our approach to working with fathers in prison is to see them as dads first and foremost, to encourage them to be positive and proactive in their parenting role and to be the best parent they can be while parenting from prison. The sessions we run are practical and non-judgemental. We also enable children to spend more 'normal' time with their dads through family days, baby bonding visits and homework clubs. 


Our experienced and knowledgeable staff are on hand in the Visitors Centre at HMP Winchester before and after visits, but whatever prison you are visiting, we have support and guidance information, online here. 

What do our prison services do to support families?  

  • 1-1 casework (liaising with internal and external services)
  • Parenting courses, workshops and providing self-study packs
  • Help with prison visits - available before, during and after visits via our visitor’s centre, play area in the visit’s hall and by the serving of refreshments during the visit itself
  • Extended prison visits (Family Days, Baby Visits, Time to Connect Visits)
  • Homework Club, Storybook Dads, Correspondence materials and activity packs, Dads rep
  • ‘Goodbye for now’ prison visits and life story work
  • Christmas gifting service is in partnership with the prison fellowship and their Angel Tree service.
  • ‘Sending a hug home’ with Linus UK
  • ‘Behind the Wall / Beyond the Gate’ Family resettlement service
  • Training and workforce development

Refer dads to our services at HMP Winchester

Families can refer dads at HMP Winchester to our service by emailing with the dad's name, prison number if known and details of children's ages

Read Kennedy's story

Spurgeons works to improve the lives of families affected by imprisoned fathers. Recent statistics suggest there are now over 312,000 children affected by parental imprisonment.

Research highlights that these children are three times more likely to suffer with poor mental health and more likely to engage in anti-social and criminal behaviour than their peers. They are also at greater risk of poverty, ill health and experiencing housing issues. It has been suggested that 66% of boys with a father in prison will go on to offend.

Therefore, Spurgeons’ work with the families of prisoners is vital in helping support the family through the imprisonment, and also benefits their well-being going forward.

Are you supporting a child with a parent in prison?

Supporting a child with a parent in prison, might be something you never thought you would have to do. The situation may be complicated and you may be navigating the criminal justice system for the first time.

But when a child's parent goes to prison, it's important to talk to the child about what's happening. They might be confused, sense something is happening, or they might even have already found out some other way.

At Spurgeons we have worked with prisoner's families for years and have drawn from this expertise to create a series of animations to help you have those necessary conversations to children in your care.

Illustration of the invisible walls project - dad being greeted by mother and child

Support for families of prisoners


Our aim is to provide support for prisoners’ families both inside prisons, and outside.


The service we provide is a family hub. We will contact schools, health centres, children’s centres to help provide family support for prisoners in whatever way they need so that the whole needs of each family we come into contact with, are being met. 

The Spurgeons team deliver prison support services at HMP/YOI Winchester

  • Winchester

    HMP/YOI Winchester

    Romsey Road,
    SO22 5DF

    01962 723000

HMP/YOI Winchester

At HMP/YOI Winchester Spurgeons runs family days, parenting courses for Fathers and provides special children's activities during visits.

We also run our award-winning Invisible Walls Family Support service at HMP Winchester. Spurgeons staff (based in the Visitors Centre) and our partner organisations will be on hand before, during and after your visit to offer advice and support.

Frequently asked questions about Spurgeons prison family support services:

How many visits can a prisoner have?

How many prison visits is dependant on quite a few factors and changes, to obtain further information, visit the Government website for Winchester Prison. 

What happens when I arrive for my visit at HMP/YOI Winchester?

When you arrive at the prison turn immediately right and head towards the Visitor Centre in the Guymar building. The Centre opens at 1pm and closes at 5pm.

Spurgeons Volunteers will be on hand during this time to welcome you with a cup of tea, sign you in as present for your visit and they will also be able to provide information about what to expect during your visit. Please arrive at the Centre 10 minutes before your visit time.

What do I need to bring with me to a prison visit?

You will have to bring one form of photo ID. Acceptable ID is – passport, driving licence, citizen card, or a senior citizen public transport pass issued by local authority. If you don’t have photo ID you must have 3 other forms of ID that include your name and address.

These need to be dated within the last 3 months. Please refer to the government website Acceptable forms of identification (ID) when visiting a prison in England and Wales. 

There is a tea bar operating with in the visits hall and you are allowed to take in with you £10 worth of coins to buy hot and cold drinks and snacks for the person you are visiting.

What happens next?

At your appointment time one of our volunteers will take you to the enhanced security gate which is outside of the Guymar Building. You will then need to show your ID to the Officer who will confirm your booking at the bookings desk.

If you need to store your belongings in a locker, a member of staff will issue you with a locker key. Once you have secured all your belongings in a locker you will be called to begin the security process before being taken to the visit’s hall. All visitors before being searched will be asked to walk through an electronic scanner. The searches are carried out with courtesy and sensitivity. Searching usually involves a ‘rub down’ search similar to what you would experience at an airport. You will also be asked to open your mouth so that the officers can check inside.

There will be dogs in attendance prior to entering the visits hall that are specifically trained. You will then be escorted to the visits hall where you will meet the person you are visiting. Please note there are steps at various points on the journey to the Visits Hall. If you are a wheelchair user, please let the Volunteers know on arrival to the Visitors centre that you will need support.

How long are the prison visits?

As from 27th July 2020, all visits are one hour. You will be allocated an arrival time which is 10 minutes before your visit time. If you arrive earlier, you will need to wait in the Visitors Centre.

Can I hand the person I am visiting, letters or cards when we come to visit?

No. You are not allowed to pass anything over to the prisoner during visits. Everything needs to be posted to the prison clearly addressed with the prisoner’s full name and prison number.

You're advised to include your name and address on anything you send to the prison if letters or items must be returned to you

Further support from the Spurgeons prisons team:

Contact Invisible Walls

More content from the prisons team:

View all

Volunteers’ Week: Alicia’s Story
Alicia volunteering to mark Volunteer's Week
Volunteers’ Week: Alicia’s Story
Prison dads line up to speak from the heart
A father shares a happy moment with his son, who is playing with a toy
Prison dads line up to speak from the heart
Spurgeons Volunteers Honoured For Their Work In Prison Family Support Service
A group photo outside the visitor's centre of Spurgeons Invisible Walls Volunteers, who are being honoured for their work in Prison Family Support.
Spurgeons Volunteers Honoured For Their Work In Prison Family Support Service