Starting life as the Catholic Prisoners’ Aid Society nearly 120 years ago, Pact is a charity with a rich history. We believe in the innate dignity of all human beings and our values are rooted in service to the most vulnerable and overlooked members of society. Today, all over the world, Christians celebrate Easter, the resurrection of Jesus and the possibility of forgiveness and hope that His resurrection entails. 

One of the hallmarks of Pope Francis’ papacy is his continued reaffirmation of the innate value and dignity of the imprisoned person. For the fourth time in his five years as Pope, he spent Maundy Thursday Mass washing the feet of prisoners at Rome’s well known prison, the Regina Coeli. This Mass is a commemoration of the Last Supper, where - in a radical reversal of roles - Jesus chose to wash the feet of his disciples. 

This act of service and humility, which underscores the equal worth of the imprisoned person, is an example that touches the hearts of Christians and non-Christians alike. Pope Francis’ decision to highlight the lives of people in prison and those with convictions challenges us to investigate our assumptions of them. It calls on us to remember that prisoners are human beings and that we, as a society, have an obligation to recognise them as such and provide for their rehabilitation. Pope Francis said:

None of us are things, we are all persons and as such we have the dimension of hope. Let us not be robbed of our identity. I am not a number, I am not a prisoner with a given number, I have a name and I have the ability to bring forth hope, because I want to give birth to hope.

This belief in the dimension of hope fuels Pact’s work: an enduring and active hope that values those discarded by society, that strengthens divided families, that supports and advocates for children affected by familial imprisonment, and helps bring about a fresh start for prisoners, people with convictions, their families and communities across England and Wales. 

This Easter, we invite you to reflect on the lives of people in prison and their families, and the complex navigation to their rehabilitation, release and resettlement.

We know that prisoners are 39% less likely to re-offend if they maintain contact with their families, and our services are a vital tool which help maintain these bonds. Today, you have the power to support this work through raising awareness, making a donation or volunteering your time. Together, we can build stronger families and safer communities and reduce risk of harm to prisoners and their children across England and Wales. 

Wishing a joyful and happy Easter to all our supporters, future supporters, volunteers, staff and service users.