Families can play a significant role in supporting prisoners, as studies show that positive relationships are an important factor in reducing reoffending. The government has taken the following action to improve support for prisoners and their families:
- Funded a contract worth over £1.4m for Barnardo’s to operate the i-HOP service to share evidence on practice and advise commissioners and practitioners on the options available to support the families of offenders.
- Given prison governors the budget and flexibility to spend their resources as they see fit to help prisoners establish or maintain important family and significant other ties.
- Awarded a new contract for family services across the female estate in October 2017, allowing women’s prisons to work closely with a single professional family services provider, to develop innovative support solutions.
- Enabled better communication between prisoners and their families through the facilitation of organised and constructive family days, as well as courses and programmes to promote parenting and family engagement.
- Women’s prisons also work to provide other support for improved family links, including family days, child-centred visits, homework clubs and specific relationship and parenting skills programmes.
- Finally, we are building the evidence of what works for all children in need, investing £5 million to test targeted support to improve their outcomes.