Sir Michael Palin has recorded a video message to prisoners’ families in which he tells them they are not forgotten and encourages them to make use of the Prisoners’ Families Helpline provided by the Prison Advice and Care Trust (Pact).

In the video, Sir Michael explains why he is throwing his support behind Pact and the charity’s Helpline service. He says:

“These are difficult times for us all, but especially for those in prison and their families outside. You may feel yourselves a bit forgotten, low on the list of those whose experiences of the coronavirus we hear about each day. In my work over the last few years I have realised how important is the link between families and prisoners. It’s something we need to protect, not ignore.”

Prisons have been on ‘lockdown’ since March 24th as a means of reducing the spread of Covid-19. Prisoners are being kept in their cells for 23 hours a day and all visits have been cancelled - along with education and training courses, use of prison chapels and gyms, and association (recreation). It is an incredibly difficult time for prisoners and their loved ones, adding to the existing challenges of keeping in touch and maintaining strong family relationships while separated. Pact is working closely with Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) to provide support remotely to prisoners and their families, and to ensure prisoners’ families get the information and support they need.

Sir Michael Palin

Sir Michael, who is 77 and self-isolating at home during the Covid-19 pandemic, is an English comedian, actor, writer and television presenter. Alongside starring in numerous films and television programmes from travel documentaries to serious dramas, he is best known for being a member of the comedy group Monty Python

Pact

Pact is an independent national charity which supports prisoners, people with convictions and their children and families. We work in prisons and in the community to support people to make a fresh start and to minimise the harm that can be caused by imprisonment on people who have committed offences, on families and on communities.

Prisoners’ Families Helpline

The Prisoners’ Families Helpline (0808 808 2003) is open 7 days a week – from 9am to 8pm Monday to Friday and from 10am – 3pm on Saturday and Sunday. All calls are free and confidential. The service is funded by HMPPS.

www.prisonadvice.org.uk

Pact’s website includes a range of free resources for parents, children and young people, teachers, social workers, police and other professionals.

Prison Visitors’ Guides

The Pact website also contains a helpful A-Z of prisons with information about how to keep in touch with family members and friends in prison.