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Family Relationships Are “The Golden Thread”

Family Relationships Are “The Golden Thread”

‘If I don’t see my family I will lose them, if I lose them what have I got left?’ (Prisoner comment to Lord Michael Farmer).

Devoid of sentiment with regard to prisoners and their families, Lord Farmer, in his report published today [10 August 2017] states,

“I do want to hammer home a very simple principle of reform that needs to be a golden thread running through the prison system and the agencies that surround it. That principle is that relationships are fundamentally important if people are to change.”

“In the course of my Review I met an army of people who instinctively recognised this. Prison governors, their management teams and prison officers of all ranks, as well as the voluntary sector organisations that exist to ensure families and prisoners can keep in touch and have the best relationships possible in highly constrained circumstances.”

“The Ministry of Justice’s own research shows that, for a prisoner who receives visits from a partner or family member, the odds of reoffending are 39% lower than for prisoners who had not received such visits.  3 Supportive relationships with family members and significant others give meaning and all important motivation to other strands of rehabilitation and resettlement activity.” [emphasis our own]

At CrossReach we have long held to the research based belief that supporting families to keep in touch with their incarcerated loved one is a vital key to breaking the cycle of reoffending and to addressing the intergenerational transmission of crime.

In response to the release of today’s report, Director of Children and Family Services, Sheila Gordon said,

“We consider it our privilege to be part of the solution in Scotland by supporting prisoners’ families through our Perth Prison Visitors Support and Advice Centre and Polmont Prison Visitors Centre Family Hub & Bus and that visitors centres make communities safer and are valued by families who use them.”



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