New Pilot Project To Provide Specialist Resettlement Support For Women Leaving Prison And Their Families (2)



New pilot project to provide specialist resettlement support for women leaving prison and their families

Following a successful competitive tendering process, HMPPS (His Majesty’s Prisons and Probation Service) has awarded Pact (the Prison Advice & Care Trust) grant funding for a new pilot project providing specialist family-focused support for women leaving prison. 

The 18-month project brings together partners from the criminal justice, probation and voluntary sectors to encourage effective resettlement in the community. Women in custody will receive emotional support and practical advice from specialist staff aimed at strengthening vital family ties ahead of their release. Post-release, staff will ensure that each person has support in place to aid their resettlement from community-based services such as probation, women’s centres, and other agencies.   

How the project will be delivered

During the pilot, 12 Full Time Equivalent dedicated staff members will provide a coordinated approach to family resettlement planning across the nine prisons releasing the most women. Pact will deliver the service in eight prisons and its partner agency, Nepacs, will deliver the service at HMP Low Newton. The project will be independently evaluated by HMPPS to understand the impact of a family-focused resettlement programme. Pact will also work with HMPPS to develop evidence and resources designed to share the pilot’s approaches. 

As acknowledged by Lord Farmer’s 2019 review of the women’s estate, female prisoners face different challenges to their male counterparts and often become involved with the criminal justice system as a result of poverty, homelessness, and substance misuse. Around half of women prisoners are mothers and 17,000 children are estimated to be affected by maternal imprisonment every year. 

Pact Deputy CEO Ellen Green said: “We welcome this opportunity to collaborate with third sector partners including Nepacs, to test a new approach to support women in accordance with the HMPPS Female Offender Delivery Plan. During their sentence, women may have lost housing and work, and many have children who are affected.

"This project will help strengthen relationships between women leaving prison, their family members, and significant others before release, offering vital continuity of care as they move from custody to the community." 

Nepacs CEO Amanda Lacey said: “We are really pleased to be part of this new service, enabling us to offer a much-needed Family Resettlement Worker for HMP Low Newton which will enhance the quality of support available to individuals and families during the crucial time around release. Our worker will work intensively with each person over several weeks, laying the groundwork for successful rehabilitation, before being on-hand during the often-tricky readjustment back in the community. We welcome the opportunity to support all members of the family, helping build the support networks, and emotional resilience needed to meet the challenges that release so often brings." 

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Photography by Andy Aitchison.