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Life in prison: Contact with families and friends

A findings paper by HM Inspectorate of Prisons

This findings paper is part of a series which focuses on daily life in adult prisons and in young offender institutions holding young adults (aged 18 to 21). The series explores particular issues that are regularly reported to us during our routine inspections. We hope these short findings papers will be of interest to practitioners, will provide the public with an insight into the reality of life in prison, and will be used to encourage good practice. We expect that the findings and good practice detailed in this paper will support the development of prison services.

This paper summarises the literature concerning the importance of prisoners maintaining relationships with the outside world and, in particular, with their family and friends. It draws on evidence from recent inspections of adult prisons undertaken by HM Inspectorate of Prisons and survey data from inspection reports published between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2016. These data are aggregated and overall responses for the year are presented. Comments from confidential prisoner surveys conducted as part of the inspection process are also included in this report; these quotes are not ascribed to individual prisons or inspection reports. This paper provides an overview of the ways in which prisoners are able to keep in contact with their family and friends, and how they experience this.