Cutting Crime Through Family Ties In North-East Prisons

Efforts to drive down crime in the north-east by helping prisoners and their children to maintain contact are underway, thanks to a funding boost from the Prison Service.

More than £120,000 has been awarded to the charity Nepacs, allowing children who want to sustain a relationship with a parent in prison, to stay in touch and helping cut reoffending from prisoners.

Evidence shows that offenders who maintain family ties are nearly 40% less likely to reoffend, demonstrating the role families can play in keeping the wider community safe.

Additionally, independent findings suggest better addressing the needs of prisoners’ children would help break the cycle of crime in families.

Alex Chalk, Prisons Minister, said: “Keeping in touch with those closest to us can play a huge role in our wellbeing, and we know that prisoners who maintain those ties are much less likely to reoffend.
The funding for this work will help prisoners rehabilitate and in turn keep our communities safe.

Amanda Lacey, Chief Executive of Nepacs, said:

The impact of separation can be devastating for parents and children, while many find the legal implications surrounding child contact extremely difficult to navigate. Our work helps women in Low Newton understand their rights and get the support they need to become informed and involved in decisions which affect them and their children.

The new scheme – the Parental Rights in Prison project – also helps prisoners understand complex issues, such as contact arrangements, through weekly drop-in sessions and monthly legal rights workshops with a family law solicitor.

The programme helps parents in prison understand the law on child contact, including the seriousness and potential implications of breaching child contact arrangements and help parents accept when a court has decided that total separation is in the best interests of them and their children.

The programme’s workshops are based at women’s prison HMP and YOI Low Newton, with learning and support to be provided across the region’s seven prisons.