This report is an evaluation of the effectiveness of the family support worker (FSW) role (which evolved from a partnership between Pact, who offer prison based support and Safe Ground who offer family relationships programmes to prisoners and families), which was piloted within 4 English prisons between 2009 and 2010.
The aim of this was to test the potential for developing a viable responsive casework service to prisoners, their children, families and supporters, the programme was funded by the National Offender Management Service (NOMS, Ministry of Justice) and the former Department of Children, Schools and Families (now Department for Education) The extent of the FSWs potential is uncovered by reporting on quantitative and qualitative data gained from FSWs, prison staff, other professionals, prisoners, their families and supporters. The data is also used to inform the framework for a possible national model. Key findings are that there is a need for FSW services to be tailored depending on prison characteristics. Half of the 928 service users (SU's) reached, only required one liaison with the FSW. There was a wide diversity of SU's e.g. prisoner type, family/supporter type, gender and ethnic origin. More than half of all cases involved a referral to other agencies. The large majority of SU need was around Prisoner and family contact, followed by Emotional and mental health, Children and Parenting as well as Money management. All FSW services were highly rated and valued. Prison staff also reported that FSWs contributed to prisoners' stability. The evaluation concludes that there is a high need for the FSW role and appropriate training and customisation so that it can be extended across the prison estate.
See this report on Prison based family support below: