News from Pact

My daughter told me that when I went to prison it was like I had died. I was just not there. I was gone.’

At the recent Pact Carol Service at Our Lady and St Brigid’s, Northfield, Paula Harriott, a Pact Trustee, described the impact of her imprisonment on her children. She continued, 'My daughter missed me so much. But no-one asked her how she was feeling or whether she needed anything. Neighbours wouldn’t let their children play with her anymore.' 

Pact is the national Catholic charity providing support to people in prison and their children and families. Pact works in 11 prisons in the Archdiocese of Birmingham and in the community. Fr Cecil Rogerson, parish priest at Our Lady and St Brigid’s, described the journey the parish is taking, learning and reflecting on how imprisonment affects children and families in our communities and how the parish might support them. 

Fr Cecil described hearing from Pact’s Services Lead, Tina Pritchard at Mass on Prisoners’ Sunday, and how Tina will be talking to schools in the New Year, sharing a toolkit to help staff support children and young people affected by imprisonment.

A record 100,000 children will spend Christmas without their mum or dad this year because they are in prison across England and Wales. Children and young people were present at the Carol Service particularly in the school choir. Our Lady and St Brigid’s Primary School children brought wonderful energy and joy to their performance of CJM’s Awake

Andy Keen-Downs, Pact CEO, thanked Pact staff and volunteers, and partners such as HMPPS staff, prison chaplains and local parishes and organisations whom we work alongside, ‘for your dedication and resilience – and your determination to treat others with dignity, respect, and compassion.... thank you for your commitment to making the criminal justice system better for everyone, now and in the future.’

Over refreshments prepared and served by parishioners, many important conversations took place. ‘I came because I have a family member in prison.’ ‘I’ve been thinking about volunteering with Pact.’ ‘Pact really helped me when I visited someone inside.’ 

Our Lady and St Brigid’s is by no means the only parish in the Archdiocese offering prayer and practical support for people affected by imprisonment.

Yvonne, the Pact parish rep at St Chad’s Cathedral parish, organised a collection of gifts for dads in prison in HMP Birmingham to give to their children at Christmas. Pact staff organise a series of special Christmas Family Visit Days when dads, or mums, inside are able to spend time with their children  - and thanks to the generosity of parishioners at St Chad’s, give their child a small gift. These activities strengthen family bonds at what can be a really difficult time for children and families. 

Pact would like to thank all those in the Archdiocese of Birmingham who support people in prison and their families, and the work of Pact.

Can you ensure that prisoners and their families are remembered in a Bidding Prayer at Christmas Services in your parish community?

From all of us at Pact, we wish you a Happy and Holy Christmas.

Attend a Justpeople workshop to reflect on Catholic Social Teaching through the lens of imprisonment. 

Donate to help support people in prison and their children and families

Contact Pact’s Faith in Action team [email protected]