Lent is a time of repentance, of waiting, and of reflection, which this year, has an even greater meaning when we think of people in prison and their families.

Due the the Covid-19 outbreak, since March last year, most men and women in prison have had more than enough time waiting for change, as have their families. Prisoners have been confined to their cells for 23 hours a day, every day, with no visits from loved ones, no access to classes or job training, no time in prison chapels for worship, no use of prison gyms or sports. 

For some in prison, this may have offered time to reflect and to pray. For others, including the many prisoners who have underlying mental health issues, the experience has been almost unbearable, and for all, it will undoubtedly have a profound impact on their psychological and physical wellbeing. As a result, we are seeing a disturbing increase in the number of people suffering mental health crises, which is reflected in the alarming increase of incidences of self-harm. In the past 6 months, we have handled a 300% increase in safeguarding cases, mostly involving direct support to people who are feeling suicidal.

Though the lockdown imposed by the prison service has saved thousands of lives, staff and prisoners are still being inflicted by this terrible disease, and so the prospect of lifting restrictions in prison is so far, out of reach.

How can you help?

Support us with a donation

As well as being of time of waiting, reflection and prayer, Lent is also a time when we are called upon to live simply, and to be charitable. And so we turn to our supporters to invite you to help us with this vital work.

Even in these difficult times, our staff and volunteers continue to provide vital life-saving and life-changing support to people in prison, people trying to make a fresh start after release, and to the innocent children and families affected.

Your donation will enable us to continue to deliver in this ever-changing, ever-challenging environment. 

Volunteer

You may also want to consider exploring the idea of becoming a Pact volunteer – a role that you can now do from your own home. If you are interested in volunteering you can email [email protected] or find out more about what it's like to volunteer for Pact

I’m not sure how useful I am. Mostly I just listen. But they keep talking to me so maybe what I’m doing is OK.   

Quote from a grandfather, and volunteer Pact Befriender.

See the impact: Lizzy's story

Would you like to know more about how we support prisoners and their families? Read about Lizzy, a woman who found herself suddenly alone, with no one to talk to, afraid and ashamed, after her husband went to prison. Read how the support of a Pact Volunteer offered her the hope of a fresh start, from a lonely and isolated existence, and how simple human kindness can impact the lives of others.