Here's some advice on the support that's available in prison and links to useful resources.
Support for people in prison
In UK prisons there’s support available to help you with a range of things, from your physical and mental health, addiction, education and training, to your relationships with your family and friends.
When you first arrive, you’ll have assessments with prison officers and medical staff. They’ll want to find out about your health and wellbeing. This is a good opportunity to talk to them about what you need and find out what help you can get.
Physical and mental health
You should get the same healthcare in prison as you do outside. So if you need treatment or have a regular prescription, the healthcare team will help you with that.
If you’re struggling with your mental health or emotional wellbeing, there’s support for you too. Your Personal Officer and the Safer Custody Team are the most important sources of support. There are also peer support schemes, like the Insiders and the Listeners (who are trained by Samaritans). They’re there to listen to you and will understand what you’re going through.
Drugs and alcohol
If you’ve got issues with drugs and alcohol, you can ask for a referral to the prison drug and alcohol team. Your family members can also ask for an assessment and referral once your sentence has started. The support you get might include medication to help you with withdrawal, counselling, and group support.
Lots of prisons will also have peer support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Many people find them helpful with staying sober or keeping off drugs, so they’re worth a try even if you feel sceptical. Prison staff will help you get involved.
You might also be able to get support from a peer mentor and eventually become one yourself. You can do a training course to become a peer mentor and you may also find it helps to support your own recovery.
If you’ve got family issues, like relationship issues or access to your children, the Family Service can help. They’ll work both with you and your family in the community.
You might not think it, but leaving prison can be just as hard as going in. It’s a big change, and you’ll want to take advantage of the help on offer to make it easier.
In the run up to leaving, the prison will connect you with services in the community. So you’ll carry on getting any treatment and support that you began in prison. This includes making sure there’s no break in any medications you’re taking.
Staff will also tell you about services to help with employment and housing.
Use our service finder to see if we have a service at the prison you’ll be going to, and find out how we can help.