HMP Parc welcomes Dutch officials to groundbreaking family intervention unit

30 January 2017

G4S-managed HMP Parc welcomed twelve visitors from the Netherlands including justice department and local government representatives, a regional Mayor, two prison governors and officials from the probation service to visit the UK’s most advanced family intervention unit.

Visitors witnessed first hand the efforts being made to drastically cut reoffending rates by working directly with prisoners and their families at the South Wales-based prison.

Parc, one of Britain’s biggest prisons, uses family interventions to support both prisoners who are willing to make a change and their families on the outside, with a focus on responsibility and

self-improvement. This model has enabled the team at Parc to reach and engage with hundreds of families in need, with a view to stopping reoffending and working to reduce the risk of their children following in their footsteps.

The family intervention unit is a 64-bed living unit where the entire focus is on repairing their lives and taking responsibility for their relationships with their families, who have borne the brunt of their offending behaviour and imprisonment. A range of individual and group interventions are conducted in the unit.

Veenhuizen prison governor Marie-Anne de Groot addressing the delegation said: “We all see the value here and what we could do in our own establishments. We need to stop thinking about doing this and now just do it.”

G4S Netherlands director of risk advisory and government René Hiemstra said:“What the team has achieved at HMP Parc is a model of family intervention with phenomenal results of halting the cycle of reoffending. It is my view that its potential application across prisons services in Europe are far reaching.”

“I am immensely proud of the efforts of my colleagues at Parc. G4S is truly making the difference to many lives and by extension communities.”

A former prisoner and one of the first inmates to go through the family intervention unit, John, whose daughter was a baby when he was sentenced said: “I am eternally grateful to Parc because it provided the foundation of my recovery, I don’t commit crime and I believe that it’s down to Parc that I was able to build a relationship with my daughter.”

Head of family interventions at HMP Parc, Corin Morgan-Armstrong, said:“Research due to be published later this year is expected to show that reoffending among high-risk families supported through this programme has decreased to around 10 per cent.

“This programme requires prisoners to ask some very profound questions of themselves to understand what they have done both in terms of their offending and the consequences on their families.  For too long, family interventions work in prison has been seen as a soft option, lacking credibility or relevance.  What we have evidenced is that on the contrary, it is a central causal factor within reducing the probability of reoffending and preventing children of prisoners following in their parents’ footsteps.”

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