Prison Work

MU Guildford Diocese is pioneering a project in HMP Send. Some time ago we recognised that many women in prison are living with loss related issues including loss of liberty and control, the placing of children in permanent care or bereavement. We hold twice monthly sessions and invite women to come to talk about their concerns.

We are also involved at two men's prisons - Highdown and Coldingley - where MU members run childminding and play facilities so that women can visit their menfolk without the distraction of children.

 

Why do we do it?

Well, there are so many reasons and for every member of the team there will probably be a personal motivation. When a group of MU members from across the country was asked why they volunteer for work in prisons, these are a few of the thoughts they had:

  • To offer hope, friendship and care
  • To be there for people cut off from the community
  • To offer practical help and to encourage
  • To be a listener and to support the chaplains and other staff

It's not all one sided, either. Those of us who work with the children are continually amazed at how well behaved most of them are and, often, how friendly and outgoing. We receive as well as give. The love and care of their siblings is also very noticeable; in hard times, they stick together.

We don't go into a prison without a lot of back-up and help. At Highdown, for example, there is a professional playworker in overall charge to whom we can turn for advice if there is a problem. Prison chaplains are also a source of help and encouragement and the officers on duty are welcoming and friendly and readily available should difficulties arise.

We have attended lectures on Child Abuse and been introduced to the prison Child Protection Officer who is always married and one who understands family problems.

We have attended a talk on self harm and the dangers of suicide amongst new prisoners, which, although alarming and distressing, helped us to understand better the feelings of hopelessness and despair that are encountered. We've listened to talks on security and have been taught how to be aware of the possibility of drugs being passed in the Visits Hall. Some of us have been shown around the prisons, which is enlightening and sobering.

So, why do we do it? Perhaps Hebrews 13, v.3 says it all: "Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow-prisoners, and those who are ill-treated as if you yourselves were suffering."


HMP Coldingley Celebration
Twenty Years of Volunteering.

Mothers' Union in Prisons - Newsletter
An article from the Angel Summer 2015

Feedback about our work in prisons
Some letters received about our work in prisons

HMP Send
Mothers; Union work in HMP Send

HMP Highdown
About Tumbledown at Highdown Prison

HMP Coldingley
Where it all began.