For over forty years now, Prison Week has connected with churches and individuals to pray and focus on the needs of all those affected by prisons – prisoners and their families, victims of crime and their communities, those working in the criminal justice system and the many people who are involved in caring for those inside and outside of our prisons. The theme of Prisons Week (9 – 15 October 2022) is ‘What are you thankful for?’ It is based around Luke 17: 11 – 17 where Jesus heals ten lepers only one of which, a Samaritan, returns to thank him.

Nepacs is a long standing charity in the north east working in seven prisons from Northumberland to Teesside. Our mission is to support positive futures for prisoners, ex-prisoners, their families and friends to reduce the impact and stigma of imprisonment on their lives and contribute to the positive rehabilitation of offenders.

Last year Nepacs supported thousands of families to visit or maintain contact with a loved one in prison, including many children who hadn’t seen their parent for some time (due to visits being cancelled during Covid). It is these visits that enable prisoners, families and children to maintain contact and relationships with their loved ones. This contact is crucial in reducing prisoner re-offending and the intergenerational impact of crime on the thousands of children affected by parental imprisonment in our region each year.

How can you help?

This year, in line with prisons week, we are asking for help with our Prisoners Clothing Appeal – supporting men and women taken into custody at HMP Durham or HMP Low Newton, who have no money or families to help out by sending underwear in for them during their first few days or weeks in custody. Through our Early Days in Custody project at both prisons we aim to support individuals on arrival at the prison, during their first two weeks. This is a crucial time when they are most anxious, worried and more at risk of self harm or suicide. Our team are on hand to help them contact their loved ones, answer any questions, help them receive the support they need within the prison and to help relieve their stress and anxiety. We are sharing the campaign details on our social media pages and with local churches, asking for monetary donations to help us and the prison provide new underwear to men on arrival, who don’t have loved ones to send them clothing or the financial means to purchase them. Please check out our fundraising page here.

We are also asking for donations of toiletries and breakfast/food pack items for individuals being released from HMP Holme House, Northumberland or Low Newton. To donate items to our departure lounges please contact the visitors centres at each site (click on poster opposite) or individuals can donate online here.

Now that prison visits have returned, after many of our services being closed during Covid, we are also looking for volunteers to help join our teams, supporting prisoners families across the north east. We have a wide range of volunteer opportunities across the north east in courts, prison visitor centres, play areas, tea bars or in the community, and are very grateful to all of our volunteers for giving their time to help our service users.

The generosity of north east congregations collecting, donating, fundraising or volunteering for Nepacs during Prisons Week or throughout the year would make a big difference to the thousands of people affected by imprisonment across our region, so please help in any way possible.

Thank you.