Parc Prison receives international attention
Outstanding work at a G4S prison in South Wales to turn offenders away from crime is attracting national and international attention.
Members of the UK Royal Family, the President of Malta and the Head of the British Army are among recent high-level visitors to the HMP & YOI Parc.
Among the innovations at the 1,723 capacity prison and young offenders institute is the UK’s first prison wing for ex-service personnel.
It runs a Family Interventions Unit, which works with prisoners and their families to promote rehabilitation and reduce re-offending.
Parc also has a long-standing relationship with The Prince’s Trust, running a dozen courses at its Young Persons Unit for the past five years.
And its work with prisoners with learning disabilities has seen members of the team invited to Buckingham Palace to be presented with prestigious awards from the Butler Trust – a leading that champions and recognises best practice within the justice community.
It was the opening of the Endeavour Unit, the prison wing for ex-service personnel, that prompted the Head of the British Army, Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Nick Carter to see for himself the work taking place.
“I had an inspiring visit where I found people who were trying hard to point in the right direction veterans who have fallen into difficulties,” he said afterwards.
“My personal thanks to staff of Endeavour Wing of HMP Parc for their efforts to assist ex-service members.”
On the international stage, Parc’s work with families has caught the attention of the President of Malta, Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, who is keen to reform the justice system in her own country.
She met Corin Morgan-Armstrong, who heads up the Family Interventions programme at Parc, at a conference in Stockholm, and invited him to Malta, where he gave a presentation to government officials. He also toured the Corradino Correctional Facility.
This spring, the President travelled to the UK to see at first hand the work going on at Parc.
“It was a very good visit,” Corin said. “Her Excellency had a clear agenda to see what I had spoken about and the potential for translating our work to the prison in Malta.
“She came on to the family unit to meet some of the families of prisoners we’re working with, and spoke to them about the initiative.
“She is very serious about prison reform, and while there are a lot of challenges on Malta, there is also the opportunity for them to do something amazing and make tangible changes to the lives of prisoners and their families.”
To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Prince’s Trust, HRH Prince Charles visited Parc. He met up with prime-time TV entertainers Ant & Dec, who were at the prison to film a documentary about the Trust, and together they spoke to offenders.
“Our work with the Prince’s Trust plays an important part in our effort to help offenders to turn away from crime,” said Janet Wallsgrove, Director of Parc.
Another high-profile visit saw HRH Princess Anne mark the official opening of the prison’s new £80m, 387-capacity houseblock.
While there, she also witnessed the work taking place at Parc on the Invisible Walls Wales project, which works to reduce reoffending and intergenerational offending by strengthening family ties.
“It’s an exciting time at our prison and we were delighted to welcome the Princess and all our other high-profile visitors to meet our team and see for themselves the work that we’re doing,” Janet added.