Families Outside delivers bespoke training and Awareness-raising regarding issues for families who have a relative or friend involved in the criminal justice system. Communication, handling of difficult situations, and working with a diverse range of individuals can all be problematic. Tailored information looks at the issues for family members affected by imprisonment, how support can be delivered to this group of people in their own right and, in turn, how families and the services available to them can support a relative or friend in prison and on release.

More recently (September 2011) Families Outside has taken on the training role of Kids VIP, who for many years worked with supporting and promoting improved contact between children and their imprisoned parents. Kids VIP has transferred its experience and expertise to Families Outside by providing training to staff who will be taking on the work. This will allow Families Outside to advise prisons on child-friendly facilities and offer accredited training on different aspects of children visiting prisons (Safeguarding Children in Prison). It will allow the learner to have the underpinning knowledge needed to help improve, develop and maintain good practice in relation to safeguarding children visiting prison. Families Outside will also take on the support of the prison play coordinators’ network.

Sessions can run from a 20-minute presentation to a full-day workshop involving a range of materials including audio, DVD, quizzes, group discussions, role play and case studies.

Learning Aims – Awareness Raising

By the end of the workshop, participants will:

  • Have an understanding of the impact of arrest and imprisonment on family members and on relationships between someone in prison and their family member or friend
  • Recognise the importance of positive family ties
  • Recognise the key role families can play in risk assessment, case management, recovery from substance misuse, crime prevention, child protection, and resettlement
  • Understand the role and function of the Families Outside Support & Information Helpline, and the back-up and resources it provides to family members and to the professionals who work with them
  • Understand the issues facing children and young people when they have a close relative in prison
  • Understand that families need support in their own right
  • Have an awareness of existing resources available for families (locally and nationally)
  • Understand the importance of links between prison and support agencies/facilities
  • Understand the role that Family Contact Officers, prison Visitors’ Centres and good quality family contact can play in a prisoner’s sentence management
  • Identify the ways that they can apply their learning in the visits environment to better meet the needs of visiting children and families.

Learning Aims – Safeguarding Children in Prison

By the end of the session, the learner should be able to:

  • Understand the relevant legislative framework.
  • Identify the four different types of abuse.
  • Understand the procedures if they suspect a child is being abused or if a disclosure is made.
  • Provide good practice in safeguarding children visiting a relative in prison.

Learning Outcomes

  • Key agencies will recognise the relevance and needs of families affected by imprisonment as part of their own remit.
  • Contact between individuals held in custody and their families will be improved, and supported.
  • Effective links and working relationships with relevant agencies will be identified, developed and maintained.

Behavioural Competencies

  • Effective communication
  • Respect for diversity
  • Personal awareness

Who is the training for?

Training has been delivered to SPS prison officer recruits, family contact officers, visits staff and senior managers in both the public and private sector, Children’s Panel members, social work and forensic psychology students, housing staff, addiction and childcare agencies, statutory and voluntary agencies, including health visitors and health promotion workers throughout Scotland. Training can be tailored according to participants’ needs and interests.

Tools for Professionals

With kind permission of Family Justice (USA), Families Outside has adapted a number of support tools which help develop more positive engagement between professionals and the families they work with.

  • Ecomapping
  • Genogram
  • Relational Enquiry Tool

These are all available on our Support and Information page along with a video of the ‘La Bodega La Familia’ project which was run by Family Justice (USA). The film offers some useful background to support the tools we have provided.