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Blog 29 May 2020

Helping prisoners with children to stay connected to their families

Read about how Rebecca Mistry, Forward's Family Work Coordinator, has been helping prisoners with children to stay connected with their families during the lockdown.

Finding new ways to communicate with our nearest and dearest is now the daily occupation of everyone in the UK, and across the world. In prison, contact options are limited at the best of times, which is why the current restrictions may be particularly challenging for people in custody, whose family and friend visits can count for so much.

In response to this problem, Rebecca Mistry, Forward’s Family Work Coordinator, took the initiative to put together some ‘Parent and Child Contact Packs’ to send out to our prison teams.

Rebecca – with the help of her two children, Aaria and Ethan – managed to make up 400 packs in total; 50 for each of our Family Work teams in HMPs Rochester, Standford Hill, Wandsworth, Brixton, Lewes, Coldingley, Send and Downview.

The packs included blank cards, crayons, jokes, pictures for colouring, and a letter of support with guidance on letter writing and keeping in touch with family – particularly children – during this difficult time.

Rebecca says:

“Most of us crave connection with others, especially those who understand or share our particular experience of the world. Right now, many of us may be physically isolated from our support networks. That’s why I wanted to create these packs for our family clients – so that they still had a way to reach out to their loved ones and especially their children.
Never underestimate the power of a letter or card, particularly at a difficult time like this. It’s the small things that are really making a difference, and a handwritten letter from someone you love can really put a smile on their face. Aaria wanted to be able to help mummies and daddies who weren’t able to see their children to keep in touch with their little ones, and also to give prisoners some good drawing opportunities – because who doesn’t love drawing!”

To find out more about our Connections service for friends and families, visit our website: