Meet Katie, our Pact Champion at HMP Send. Pact Champions are men and women in prison who volunteer to act as a point of contact, support and advice for other prisoners. They work alongside Pact staff to provide information and support throughout their sentence.

I want to work for Pact when I am released - I love it that much!

Q: Can you tell us a bit about how you came into contact with Pact?

A: I first came into contact with Pact via the Pact Champion who was volunteering at HMP Send when I first came to HMP Send. She was really helpful and introduced me to the Pact worker in the prison who is still supporting me. 

Q: Before Covid-19, what did you usually do in your role as a Pact Champion? What was a normal day or week like?

A: Before Covid-19, my week was really busy. It was filled with one-to-one meetings with women where I'd do things like offer mentoring support to mothers who have lost contact with their children, or help people find information they need, sometimes by signposting them to external agencies that could help them.

Q: How has Covid-19 affected your role and how have you had to adapt?

A: The main one is that Covid-19 has stopped all face to face meetings. I have had to adapt to communicating with people through written correspondence, or sometimes I can walk on the prison wings to chat to people. It's not ideal but it's the best we can do at the moment. 

Q: Since Covid-19 started, have you noticed any change in the types of issues women are coming to you with, or an increase or decrease in demand for your support?

A: I'd say that women are struggling a lot with their mental health. Not seeing their children and loved ones has had an emotional impact on them, and so that's changed the kind of support I provide.  

Q: Why do you volunteer for Pact? 

A: I volunteer for Pact because I feel that mothers in custody don't get a lot of support or help, and I want to fix that! I love my role: it enables me to help others, listen to them and guide them emotionally.

Q: Do you think your experience as a Pact Champion will help you in your plans for the future? If so, how?

A: I want to work for Pact when I am released - I love it that much!

Q: What would you say to someone who was thinking about volunteering with Pact?

A: Get involved! Don’t worry about support because you get so much as a mentor. It’s also a beautiful thing to help people.

Our Pact Worker at HMP Send told us: 

I found Katie to be very engaging and I could tell straight away that she loves what she does! She was always helping other women out with what they need. When the pandemic hit, I contacted Katie via Email A Prisoner and she seemed to be in good spirits each email, letting me know what she had been up to and how she had been continuing to support people through Covid-19. She was also confident in letting me know if she needed any support. Katie has been amazing because she has continued to offer support throughout a difficult time for us all, and has handled it so professionally and so well. She has kept notes of what she has been completing and kept very organised, helping women with their family relationships and preparing for release. I didn't have to give her much guidance at all: she knew exactly what she was doing and had a passion for it, which makes her work that much more valuable for not only the people that she is supporting, but also for Pact and what we stand for.

Find out more

If you want to find out more about Katie's role or if you have any questions about volunteering with Pact, get in touch with us on [email protected].