In advance of Prisoners’ Sunday on 9th October, Pact has some exciting news to share.
Following a successful competitive tendering process, the Ministry of Justice has awarded Pact (the Prison Advice & Care Trust) the contracts to provide family services in 62 prisons across England and Wales, including new contracts in the West Midlands, Kent, Sussex and the South West of England.
Pact, the national Catholic prison charity, provides services to people affected by imprisonment under contract to the Government or other larger organisations or thanks to charitable grants and donations. The prison-based Family and Significant Other Services (FaSOS) are funded under contracts to the Ministry of Justice through His Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS). Pact is now looking forward to significant growth from 1st October this year.
The charity will continue to run all of its existing services in England, with the addition of 24 new contracts including Devon’s prisons, whose services were previously founded by Pact, and HMP Styal in Cheshire. Pact services in the public sector prisons in London will now also extend to include HMP/YOI Feltham.
Despite its success, Pact is disappointed and saddened to report unsuccessful bids for services at Welsh prisons HMP Berwyn, HMP Usk & Prescoed, and HMP Cardiff. The decisions in no way reflect on the quality of services previously run in these establishments and the charity will do all it can to support staff and volunteers to ensure a seamless transition for prisoners and their families. Pact’s service at HMP Swansea will continue, as will key services for Welsh women and their families (there is currently no women’s prison in Wales).
Over the coming months, Pact will work to strengthen its team with the recruitment of new specialist posts to develop its user voice and enhance provision for refreshments services, peer support, and children and young people. There will also be a renewed focus on ensuring that prisoners, people with convictions, and their families are at the heart of the charity’s work, with services to support health and wellbeing, and other provision, on the horizon.
“We are delighted to soon be supporting prisoners and their children and families in more than sixty prisons across England and Wales,” said Pact CEO Andy Keen-Downs.
“Our work will also extend to supporting people in prison who have no family or positive social relationships in the community. From 1st October, six in ten public sector prisons will have a Pact Family Service – an exciting expansion for us, and one which we intend to be driven by the needs of those we support.
“I would like to take the opportunity to thank the Ministry of Justice and HMPPS for entrusting Pact with these vitally important services. We know that people in prison who maintain regular contact with family or loved ones are 40% less likely to re-offend on release. These services are therefore one of the most important ways in which we can help to reduce the risk of re-offending and build safer communities.
“We look forward to working collegiately with all of the other charities to enable the voices of prisoners and their families to be heard by those in positions of power and authority.”
Pact’s new family services contracts will run for a minimum of five years and up to a maximum of seven. HMPPS has also awarded Pact funds to continue to provide the Prisoners’ Families Helpline for a further three years. Through this service, a team of dedicated staff and volunteers provide signposting, information and guidance to prisoners’ family members and friends on a wide range of issues. Over the past 12 months, the team has supported more than 36,000 callers.
More information about Pact’s support for those affected by the criminal justice system can be found at www.prisonadvice.org.uk.
Pact is a pioneering national, Catholic charity that supports prisoners, people with convictions, and their children and families. We provide caring and life changing services at every stage of the criminal justice process: in court, in prison, on release, and in the community.
Pact’s vision is of a society in which justice is understood as a process of restoration and healing, in which prisons are used sparingly and as places of learning and rehabilitation, and in which the innate dignity and worth of every human being is valued. We work for the common good of society, taking a public health-based approach. We work at the intersection of criminal justice, child and family welfare, mental health, wellbeing provision and health & social care.