Families Outside is an Edinburgh-based charity that exists to support the families of people involved in the criminal justice system.
Imprisonment is a traumatic experience for families, and its impact is often significant and enduring. This can include financial pressures; risk to housing; anxiety, distress and health problems; rejection, stigma, and victimisation by neighbours and the community; problems in caring for children and the impact on the 27,000 children who lose a parent to imprisonment each year.
Families affected by imprisonment face a process of grief and readjustment throughout the course of arrest, trial, imprisonment and release. They often have difficulty getting the information and support they need to make them feel in control during periods of crisis and stress.
We provide help, advice & support for families of prisoners; assisting families with someone in prison through our Support & Information Helpline as well as through direct one-to-one support. We also inform the development of policy and practice, through our-long standing relationships with prisons, government bodies and other charities.
Initially, we helped to fund a pilot project that aimed to help teachers understand more about the needs and experiences of children affected by imprisonment. This proved so successful that it has grown into a core area of work, with Families Outside developing a number of resources and projects that enable children and young people to access more support in very difficult circumstances. It’s has been exciting to see something grow from an individual idea, through a pilot project to become established as a valuable resource that has had a much wider impact than was first anticipated.