Christian charity hails new report on strengthening family ties for prisoners

Spurgeons Children’s Charity has today welcomed the publication of the Lord Farmer Review, which outlines recommendations on strengthening family ties for prisoners to prevent reoffending and reduce intergenerational crime.

The review, released today, draws on a number of experts from across the voluntary sector as well as testimonials from many prisoners and families. In the report, Lord Farmer highlights six main recommendations which include; the right framework for improvement, raising standards, empowered governors, safe and secure prisons, developing leaders and staff and building the right estate for reform.

What ties the report together in Lord Farmer’s view is the importance of family relationships if prisons are to become a turning point for offenders. It highlights the work of Spurgeons Children’s Charity in helping fathers inside maintain a healthy relationship with their children and in this being a key factor to reducing reoffending rates.

Ross Hendry, Spurgeons’ Chief Executive, comments: “This review is an important step in raising the prominence of family ties in the prison reforms. Lord Farmer’s findings demonstrate the need for all of us to work with those imprisoned and their families if we are to realise true rehabilitation and help children affected by imprisonment not be drawn into poor outcomes and situations.

“Through our work in prisons, we have seen that healing and sustaining family relationships is often one of the most important things we can do to help prisoners avoid re-offending and their children have a more hopeful future.  Providing family support programs, family days or child centred support services in prisons is not a luxury. If we want to really help these families, it is an essential part of writing them a new better life story.

We welcome Lord Farmer’s findings and urge the Ministry of Justice, and the many charities like ours who are involved in the delivery of visitor services, to act on these recommendations.”

Established 150 years ago by one of the leading public figures of his day, the Baptist Minister Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Spurgeon’s Children’s Charity works with children and families affected by imprisonment in prisons across the country.  Through their family support and individual case work, they know first hand the importance of maintaining family ties to reduce re-offending and promote positive rehabilitation. 

The charity delivers services in six regions across England, providing invaluable support to children and families visiting a loved one in prison. This includes:

·         Specialist support for children experiencing the loss of a parent through imprisonment

·         Child-centred family visiting support service

·         Community support services for families of offenders

·         Family based intervention to prevent offending and reoffending

Working beyond the criminal justice system, Spurgeons helps over 37,000 children and young people and over 64,000 parents and carers who are amongst some of the most vulnerable in society.

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