New National Standards unveiled for prisoners’ families support services
Andrew McLellan, Chair of the National Prison Visitor Centre Steering Group will unveil a new National Performance Framework for Prison Visitor Centres, which support families affected by imprisonment at the Working In Partnership, Raising the Standard conference in Edinburgh today.
In 2015 the Scottish Government announced that it would be providing £1.8 million over three years to support the work of Prison Visitor Centres. Prison Visitor Centres seeking funding from the Scottish Government will now be required to demonstrate that they can meet the standards set out in the National Performance Framework.
Dr Andrew McLellan CBE said:
“Prison Visitor Centres provide a vital service to families visiting prisons in Scotland. Run by charities independent of the prison service, Prison Visitor Centres make families’ experience of visiting someone in a prison easier. They provide a welcoming environment, refreshments and toys for children before a prison visit and a place where visitors can access emotional, practical and financial support. These services are hugely important to all family members during what can be a very stressful time. For children, the right support is essential to reduce the effects of toxic stress associated with parental imprisonment from having life-long consequences for their health and attainment.”
“Prison Visitor Centres in Scotland are provided by a range of independent organisations who each have their own ways of working appropriate to the unique contexts in which they operate. The process of developing the National Standards Framework collaboratively has already provided opportunities for these varied services to share good practice and work together to find solutions to common problems. Now that this benchmark has been developed it will be easier to identify and promote best practice as well as for organisations to prioritise areas for development and for prisons they work alongside to support them to do so. Everyone benefits if families who are visiting a loved one in prison experience less stress and have increased quality contact.”
Dr Andrew McLellan CBE
Chair of the National Prison
Visitors Centre Steering Group
Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said:
“Improving the support for prisoners’ families not only helps to reduce reoffending but it also improves the health and life chances of prisoners and their families.
“Now all prison visitor centres are working towards achieving the same positive outcomes for the people they support and these national standards are a tool to ensure that there is a high quality service in place at every prison, which supports families and meets their needs.”