Most people are probably unaware of the 310,000 children that are affected by family imprisonment each year or that around 10,000 children visit a loved one in prison each week. 

Families of prisoners are a hidden group, invisible to mainstream services, often facing hostility. They are plunged into a world of trauma, loss and financial hardship, often trying to cope alone with a bewildering criminal justice system.

Established in 2013, Sussex Prisoners’ Families reaches into the criminal courts, prisons and communities of Sussex to connect families to practical advice, emotional support and to each other through a free programme of activities throughout the year, a monthly peer support group and an online forum chatroom.

As part of the outreach program they offer a free service of confidential, one-to-one support and advice for people living in Hastings who are affected by the imprisonment of a family member or friend, as well as for those supporting someone going through the criminal justice process.

People may have a range of concerns they wish to talk through such as the court process, talking to children about imprisonment, coping with stigma and dealing with the press. Families also have practical concerns such as organising prison visits and maintaining their health and wellbeing and that of their family during this difficult time, or that of their relative or friend in prison. 

The goal of Sussex Prisoners’ Families is to provide advice and information for prisoners’ families when they need it and without delay. They emphasise the importance of listening to those they are helping so that they can shape their services accordingly. And all of this so that people can make their own informed decisions about their lives, empowering them to make the right choices for themselves.

For those in the Hastings area who wish to access the service, it is available at the Ore Community Centre on a monthly basis: dates up to the end of the year are Wednesday 9th October, Wednesday 13th November and Wednesday 4th December between 11am and 1pm. To make an appointment to come along to one of the sessions you can email [email protected] or telephone 01273 499843

If you would like to find out more about their work or to volunteer with them in the criminal courts or at HMP Lewes call 01273 499843 or visit or email [email protected]

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