When someone is sent to prison it can affect the whole family. For the prisoner, being separated from family and friends can be one of the most difficult aspects of their sentence. On the outside, the family can feel as if they are being punished too.

Letters, visits and telephone calls are a good way of ensuring you keep in touch with a loved one in prison. Some prisons even offer special prison visits days which allow certain prisoners the opportunity to spend quality time with their child or children away from the normal constraints of a prison visit. Many prisons also now have the ability to receive emails for prisoners which can be quicker, cheaper and sometimes more reliable than sending a letter. Read more about the email a prisoner service. If you do not have access to an email account then you can still send letters through the post and there are no restrictions on how many letters a prisoner can receive.

Resettlement prison

A resettlement prison has the specific role of preparing for release prisoners and help minimise the risk of re-offending by managing their reintegration into the community. Often these prisons will be close to the home of the prisoner. Prisoners serving 12 months or under will serve all of their time in a resettlement prison and receive a tailored package of supervision and support on their release. Longer serving prisoners will go to resettlement prisons when they have at least 3 months left on their sentence and an identified resettlement need. The resettlement package will concentrate on the preparation for release and resettlement, help to reduce institutionalisation and teach prisoners to take personal responsibility. They will also be tested on their ability to function independently and within the community. There are approximately 70 Resettlement Prisons across England and Wales.

It is important that you have someone to talk to when someone you love goes to prison. This can be a friend, a relative or anyone else you trust. If you do not feel able to discuss your situation with someone you know then please call us in confidence on 0808 808 2003 (see our confidentiality policy for limitations). You can also email us on if you do not feel confident enough to talk on the telephone.


To make it easy to print off the information provided in this section, either in Word or PDF format, we have created a library of Information Sheets which you can access by clicking here.

This page was updated on November 2018