Prisons Week Organisers Urge Action
Prisons Minister Andrew Selous MP was joined by keynote speaker Fiona Bruce MP, Anglican Bishop James Langstaff to launch this year’s Prisons Week (16-22 November) in Westminster Central Hall on October 13.
Prisons Week was established nearly 40 years ago and is run by a broad alliance of Christian denominations and leading faith-based charities working in the criminal justice system.
This year, its focus is on building hope during challenging times and its organisers are calling for a week of collective and individual prayer to support and raise awareness of the needs of prisoners, their families and communities, victims of crime, prison staff and volunteers and those working in criminal justice.
With prison populations more than doubling in the last 20 years, suicides rising 69% in the last year and a reported 30% decrease in prison officers in the last three years, these are uniquely tough times for all those involved in the criminal justice system.
A Prisons Week spokesperson said: “The Prison Service is facing huge challenges with record populations of more than 85,000 and many prisons suffering from overcrowding.
“There has also been a 37% surge in serious assaults on prison staff working in these demanding conditions. The figures speak for themselves and it’s clear that we need to reduce the levels of distress and despair within the system.
“Each year, during the week that follows Prisoners’ Sunday, the Church and Christian community is asked to build hope and support across our congregations, through prayer and raising awareness of those affected by imprisonment.”
The launch event, was supported by the Bad Boys’ Bakery – an initiative at HMP Brixton to give prisoners employment skills, will provide an insight into the activities taking place throughout Prisons Week. Further information and resources can be found here:
Organisations involved include: Assemblies of God, Caring for Ex-Offenders, The Church of England, Community Chaplaincy Association, Free Churches Group, Langley House Trust, The Methodist Church, Prisoner Advice and Care Trust, Prison Fellowship, Reflex, The Salvation Army, Spurgeons, Spread Communications, United Christian Broadcasters and The United Reformed Church.
For more information, please contact Matt Needham on 07838 156413 or firstname.lastname@example.org