Where can prisoners and their families get support and advice?

This page lists and briefly describes some sources of support for prisoners and their families.

Brief information about prisons in England and Wales, including contact information, may be found via the Ministry of Justice Prison finder.

The Gov.uk page, Staying in touch with someone in prison gives general information about visiting and other ways of communicating.

The Gov.uk page, Support for families and friends of prisoners provides information about sources of support.

Prisoners’ Advice Service

The Prisoners’ Advice Service is a charity which provides free legal information and advice to adult prisoners in England and Wales, and may on occasion take legal action on behalf of a prisoner. It offers a telephone advice line, self help toolkits, and information sheets.

It is independent of government and does not receive government funding.

General contact information may be found here.

Prison Reform Trust

The Prison Reform Trust is a charity which, as part of its work, provides a small information and advice service for prisoners in England and Wales. It offers a telephone information line and information sheets.

It cannot give legal advice or long term support.

It is independent of government.

These are the contact details.

Families

Prison Advice and Care Trust (Pact)

The Prison Advice and Care Trust is a charity which provides support to prisoners, people with convictions, and their families. It offers a range of services across England and Wales.

It is supported by the Catholic community in England and Wales.

These are the contact details.

With government support, Pact runs the Prisoners’ Families Helpline.

Prisoners’ Families Helpline

The Prisoners’ Families Helpline is a free and confidential service for prisoners’ families in England and Wales. The website for the Helpline contains a great deal of useful information and there are means of contact other than by telephone, including email. 

Other charities

Family Lives

Action for Prisoners’ and Offenders’ Families merged with Family Lives in 2014. Family Lives is a charity working to support families and family life in England and Wales. In relation to prisoners’ families, it carries out project work and offers resources for families affected by imprisonment.

A general helpline number, a link to online forums, and contact information, may be found on the website.      

Inside Time

Inside Time is a monthly newspaper for prisoners, distributed free of charge to all prisons and available online. Amongst other useful information, it includes a list of addresses for help and support organisations.

It is published by Inside Time Limited, a not-for-profit publishing company which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the New Bridge Foundation.

The contact details, including the opportunity for comments and questions by prisoners and their families, are on the website.

New Bridge Foundation

New Bridge Foundation is a charity which co-ordinates volunteers to provide a befriending service to prisoners.

Scotland

Families Outside

Families Outside is a charity registered in Scotland which describes itself as “the only national charity in Scotland that works solely to support the families of people affected by imprisonment”.

It provides family support workers, a support and information helpline, and a range of publications and online resources.

The contact details are on the website

Northern Ireland

NIACRO

The Northern Ireland Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders, now simply NIACRO, is a charity registered in Northern Ireland. It provides support for adult offenders and for families of offenders.

The contact details are on the website and there is also an enquiry form.