There about 1,600 women prisoners in England and Wales. But these are not the only women to be seen in prison. There are Governors. Prison Officers, Probation Officers. Education Officers, Chaplains, Doctors. Voluntary Workers. Bourne Trust workers AND the wives, mothers. grandmothers, daughters, sisters and girlfriends visiting the 47,000 women and men prisoners. Not a great deal is heard about women prisoners and even less about the other women listed above. In the Bourne Trust, we meet all the categories. We visit many women prisoners offering friendship, practical support and, in some cases, counselling. Our Staff and Voluntary Workers, both women and men. work with the other professionals and volunteers in the prisons.
Just now we arc concentrating much of our work on the families of prisoners. When we think. quite rightly, with compassion about the Victims of crime, we should include the families of prisoners so often left alone and deprived at home.
We visit them, too. offering comfort and advice to help them cope with their distress and their problems and to help maintain family links with loved ones 'inside'.
We run an Advice Desk for families visiting prisoners in Wormwood Scrubs. staffed by Bourne Trust volunteers offering on-the-spot advice and information. We have worked with others to set up a Visitors' Centre outside Wormwood Scrubs for those, old and young, who travel from all over the country to make their visits. This Centre is also staffed by volunteers.
We dearly want to help set up Advice Desks and Visitors' Centres at other prisons. But the cost is high. We need help!