“We welcome the findings and recommendations from the Lord Farmer Review, which highlights the critical importance of male prisoners engaging with their families and support networks as part of efforts to reduce reoffending and address intergenerational crime. With almost daily reports of the growing problems in our justice system and new figures showing little change to stubborn reoffending rates over the past decade, the focus upon prevention and rehabilitation is vital. The maintenance of family relationships and support networks is a key part of this process.
“As part of the Lord Farmer Review, social justice charity, Nacro, highlighted the critical need for families to be involved in the planning of offender release from custody, and for this to be an essential part of the development of prison services. At the time of release from prison, families may need extra support to cope, maintain resilience and provide appropriate support to their loved ones.
“At Nacro, we work across the country with offenders and those with previous convictions, who often have complex needs, supporting them to build positive and independent futures. We know that consistent mental health support, access to employment and a place to live are crucial to effective rehabilitation. All too often, we see offenders released from custody struggle to secure employment and stable accommodation, which inevitably leads to an increased likelihood of reoffending.
“Research on the role of family support in resettlement from our policy and research programme, Beyond Youth Custody, found that family and support networks can offer young offenders a sense of connectedness with the outside world. This increases stability and counters the vulnerabilities that increase with time in custody, providing important practical support to enable young people to achieve their aims.
“The Lord Farmer Review rightly recommends that consideration should be given to the closeness of family or other supportive relationships as part of any proposed movements of prisoners out of their home region. It also suggests that all new-build prisons should be required to produce and publish a family impact assessment. As well as the maintenance of family relationships and support networks, access to mental health support, education and purposeful activity, coupled with well equipped and supported staff, are all essential parts of helping people turn their lives around while in prison.
“A much-needed focus on prevention and rehabilitation, including the strengthening of prisoners’ relationships with family and support networks, will go a long way to tackling high reoffending rates across the country. This can only benefit society as a whole by making our streets safer, reducing victims of crime and giving people the chance to make a valuable contribution.”