As you’ve read the interview with Bishop Rachel about women in prison, or the article about the disproportionate representation of BAME people in the Criminal Justice System, you may have been wondering, “but what can I do?”
One very simple thing is to write to your MP and let them know that prison policy is important to you. Prisons are often low down the agenda for many MPs. Prisoners are not allowed to vote, and so there isn’t much campaigning interest there.
And yet, these issues affect every single constituency—even those without a prison in them—because men and women will be being sentenced from those communities and released back into those communities every single day.
FIND OUT WHO YOUR MP IS
The following websites allow you to find out who your MP is and how to contact them:
Here you can also find out what roles your MP may have that are useful—are they on the Justice Committee? Do they have a Ministerial role? The more you know, the more specific you can be.
WRITE YOUR LETTER OR EMAIL
- It is important to include your full name and address with postcode, so they know you are their constituent.
- Explain what issue you are writing about—picking one focus is recommended.
- Introduce yourself and explain why you are concerned with prison policy—do you volunteer into prison? Have you had a friend or family member go to prison? Have you been a victim of crime?
- Ask your question, e.g. “What are you doing to ensure the implementation of the Female Offender Strategy?” “What steps are you taking to ensure implementation of the 2017 Lammy Review?”
- Sign off cordially.
- Keep your tone constructive and respectful, even if you didn’t vote for your MP!
- Remember you are writing as an individual, not as a PF representative. Do mention your role as a supporter or volunteer, but please don’t speak on behalf of PF.
- Pray for your MP, and for the work of Parliament as you write and send your letter.
- Make it a regular practice. When prisons are in the news, let your MP know your thoughts and how you would like them to act in Parliament in response.