September 1, 2015
Family Impact at HMP Altcourse: How we support prisoners and their families.
As you may know, we run the Visitors’ Centre at HMP Altcourse in partnership with G4S. PSS staff here are part of our Family Impact team and their role includes processing visitors and, crucially, providing information, support and play activities for children while they’re here.
The Welsh Forum
We planned the event in partnership with G4S and I hope that it will give a great opportunity today to network and develop working partnerships.
The aim of this event was to link up prisoners coming up to their release time with services and agencies that might be able to help them and their families adapt to life on the outside.
‘These lads are quite far away from their families, and their home towns’ says Family impact practitioner, Jan Curzon ‘Events like this are so important to help them reconnect with that area and the options available to them, it’d be easy for them to think there isn’t any support available. We want to make sure they’re aware that there is!’
Becky Bloor Steen, Head of Service for Wales added that
‘There were around 12 provider agencies at the event which was attended by around 36 prisoners throughout the day. Many individuals who took the time to visit the event were really surprised at the level of support that was available to them when they leave prison and were genuinely warmed by the fact that people wanted to help them on their journey of rehabilitation into a life free from crime. We were all served a fabulous lunch made by some of the prisoners. These guys also looked after us and provided us with refreshments throughout the day. There was nothing but positive vibes at the event and it was a strong reminder for all of us to seek out the good in people, not to be judgemental and recognise that everyone is making their own way; the best way they know how.’
We also run Family Days at the Visitors’ Centre….
‘We run family days at Altcourse visitors centre every quarter, and they’re such an important thing for both the prisoners and their families. During normal visits everything is very formal and secure but our activity days are much more relaxed and create a much nicer environment for the children to interact with their imprisoned family member. We always put on interesting and unique activities, like the bird of prey trainer coming in. Having a family member in prison is so stressful for everyone involved… We aim to make the day into an experience that the families will remember positively. The team work incredibly hard on these days and their dedication is one of the things that helps make the day so special. They’re currently working on holding a siblings day for young offenders.’
Jan Curzon, Family Impact, Specialist Practitioner @ Altcourse Visitors Centre