For a twelfth consecutive year, we will be running Angel Tree Mother’s Day giving young adults in prison the opportunity to send a gift and a personal message to their mum or other significant adult. But why does it matter? How can allowing a young adult to send a gift to their mum be more than just a nice thing? Recent research published in the Bromley Briefings suggests that this simple programme could have a tremendous impact.
The publication from the Prison Reform Trust indicates there are currently 11,703 young adults (18–24) in prison in England and Wales, accounting for 15% of the overall population.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, young offenders’ institutes were widely treated the same as adult prisons with harsh lockdowns implemented. These resulted in young people often spending up to 23 hours per day in their cells. Lockdowns also put a stop to family visits, which have still not returned to pre-Covid-19 levels in many prisons.
Family visits can play a vital role in the rehabilitation journey of people in prison. Sadly, due to Covid-19 and other factors, visits and contact with family can prove difficult.
People in prison are often held many miles away from home making travel logistically complicated and financially burdensome. Bromley Briefings states that only a fifth of people in prison (19% of men and 20% of women) received visits from family or friends at least once a week. People in prison stated that they were particularly keen for more consistent promotion of family contact— particularly when they were held far from home.
Angel Tree Mother’s Day helps to build and strengthen connections with families, particularly when contact has been minimal. For mums, a gift and note from their child could help to begin the healing process for broken relationships and help bring much-needed love and support into the lives of young adults in prison.
Research show that family contact makes a massive difference to the lives of people leaving prison and their rates of reoffending.
People in prison who receive family visits are 39% less likely to reoffend than those who do not. Visits can also help prepare people for release—a strong family connection can result in having somewhere to stay once leaving prison.
As our Angel Tree Mother’s Day volunteers begin the process of sending out application forms to young adults in prison, pray for family connections to be strengthened through the programme this year.
Find out ways to support this year’s programme at prisonfellowship.org.uk/atmd