Prisoners Advice Service
£17,000 award from Norman Wates Family Committee. This is a joint funding initiative with the Sir Halley Stewart Trust
The Prisoners’ Advice Service (PAS) provides free expert legal advice to adult prisoners. The pilot project for which they have been funded will add a specialist Family Law Advice component to existing outreach services in four women’s prisons across England; two in the North and two in the South, before potential expansion of the service to the whole women’s estate.
These specialist advice clinics will provide women prisoners with increased knowledge and understanding of their Family Law rights, and equip them with the tools necessary to exercise those rights. These include: their right to be involved in decisions and proceedings about their children; exercising their parental responsibility; contact arrangements with their children; and securing better long term living arrangements for them.
The desired outcome of the project is that, despite their imprisonment, mothers will be able to engage actively in Family Law proceedings involving their children. This will enable them to maintain as active a role as possible in their children’s lives or to assert their rights in respect of them. In this way, PAS hope to reduce the separation of children permanently or temporarily from their birth families. Through the support from The Wates Foundation and the Sir Halley Stewart Trust, PAS will now be able to provide specialist Family Law advice and support to these incarcerated mothers in need.