Ormiston Families in Suffolk backs review highlighting importance of relationships in reducing reoffending

A new report has highlighted how family visits can help reduce reoffending among prisoners. Picture:

A new report has highlighted how family visits can help reduce reoffending among prisoners. Picture: ORMISTON FAMILIES - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk charity has contributed to a landmark review which calls family relationships the “golden thread” to prevent prisoners reoffending and reduce intergenerational crime.

Ormiston Families, which is based in Ipswich and works with offenders to help maintain positive relationships with their families, said it welcomed the findings of The Farmer Review, published this month.

Lord Michael Farmer’s findings shows prisoners who receive visits from a family member are 39% less likely to reoffend.

He identified family as the “golden thread” to reduce reoffending and said relationships are “fundamentally important if people are going to change”.

Mark Proctor, service director at Ormiston Families, said the charity had been “delighted” to contribute to the report. “We wholeheartedly welcome the recommendations that families can be a great asset in reducing the risk of reoffending,” he added

“The odds of reoffending are 39% lower for prisoners who receive visits from a partner or family member, than for prisoners who have not received such visits.

“The Farmer Review concludes that quality family services will help people turn away from crime and will support families to cope.”

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Mr Proctor highlighted as examples Ormiston’s ongoing work with the families of prisoners and those on probation through its Unite Programme. These include overseeing children’s visits in playrooms at prisons; Storybook Dads, where fathers in prisons can record a story for their children to listen to at home; and family liaison to deal with concerns families may have.

Ormiston also provides support to offenders and their families through the government’s Transforming Rehabilitation programme. With 200,000 children in the UK having a parent in prison, Mr Proctor says these services are more important than ever.

“We hope the recommendations made in this report will play a significant part in any prison reforms from now on,” he added.

The Ministry of Justice welcomed the report and said it had already started developing a strategy which will take forward recommendations from the review. Justice Secretary David Lidington said: “Families can play a significant role in supporting an offender and I am grateful to Lord Farmer for his dedication and research on this important issue.”

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