News from Pact

Help Pact build bridges of hope for prisoners and their families this October

Prisoners’ Sunday falls this year on 8 October. With the support of Liaison Bishop for Prisons Richard Moth, Pact invites parishes across England and Wales to bring people in prison, and their children and families, before the Lord in prayer on that date, or another nearby Sunday.

‘I know I can’t change what has happened in the past, but I want to do what I can to make it a better future for us as a family.’ ‘Sammy’ - a young man in prison, supported by Pact.

Pact is the national Catholic charity supporting prisoners, people with convictions, and their families. This year marks 125 years since the charity’s formation as the Catholic Prisoners’ Aid Society.

Today Pact supports people of all faiths and none, working in more than 60 prisons, in courts, and in communities across England and Wales. The support of Catholic parishes has been and continues to be invaluable.

There are more than 85,000 people in prison across England and Wales today. We incarcerate more people per capita than any other country in Western Europe.

An estimated 97,000 children in our communities have spent their summer holidays knowing their mum or dad is in prison. This Prisoners' Sunday, Pact urges every parish to consider how they can make a difference.

In September, every Catholic parish will receive a Prisoners’ Sunday pack with a poster, bidding prayers, and a message from Pact President Cardinal Vincent Nichols.

The charity encourages all parishes across England and Wales to mark the day on 8 October - or another nearby Sunday - respectfully requesting a second collection for those who choose and are able to donate.

The money raised will help Pact to do more in the year ahead to support women and men in prison and their children and families.

Pact CEO Andy Keen-Downs shares:

“On my visits to prisons, I hear first-hand that for many prisoners, access to training, regular visits from family, mental health and spiritual support are limited by staff shortages. These are elements of the prison regime that help people cope with life inside and prepare for making that fresh start when they leave.

“Pact builds bridges of hope and opportunity for people like Sammy, who genuinely desire to make a fresh start after prison. This year – with your help - Pact will enable hundreds of men and women to start life again after a custodial sentence.

"And during a sentence, when things get very dark, and people lose hope, we are there inside the prisons, alongside hard-working prison officers, nurses, chaplains, providing hope and practical support to enable people to cope.

“We appreciate that these are challenging times financially for many families, especially those who have a loved one in prison. Any support you can offer this Prisoners’ Sunday will make a huge difference to some of the most vulnerable individuals in our society.”

Photographs courtesy of Andy Aitchison

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