This service takes a collaborative, multi-agency approach, with Pact staff working closely alongside prison departments to reduce the high levels of anxiety and distress that are known to trigger self-harm and suicide, experienced by some prisoners in the early days of custody.

Pact’s First Night workers sit within the prison First Night Induction Area or Reception Area where prisoners first arrive. They interview prisoners as they come through and assess any immediate or urgent concerns relating to family, children, personal relationships, or other issues which may present high levels of anxiety or risk of self-harm or suicide. Where appropriate, they can phone relatives or partners to tell them the prisoners’ whereabouts, offering reassurance where possible.

They provide accurate information, support and advice and ensure prisoners are able to access appropriate services to meet their immediate needs and those of their families and children. They can also refer prisoners to counselling.

The First Night worker is also trained to identify any safeguarding issues relating to prisoners’ children, and will liaise with Children’s Social Care and appropriate prison departments regarding any children that have been left in inappropriate or unsafe care.

A key part of this model is the identification of Peer Supporters from within the prison population to assist and support our workers in providing this service. Our staff will recruit, train and supervise ‘Pact Peers’ as part of the range of support available to prisoners during their early days of imprisonment.