Coronavirus: support for family and friends of prison learners

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02 April 2020

Along with the rest of the UK, Prisoners’ Education Trust (PET) is grappling with the unprecedented steps to address the Covid-19 pandemic.

As many of you will know, prisons are now in lockdown. This means people are locked in their cells for 23 hours a day and allowed out only to shower, use pay-phones, and to carry out essential work cleaning and in kitchens and laundries. All prison visits have also been stopped.

This approach is to reduce the potential for spreading the virus and to help the prison system manage with a workforce reduced by illness and self-isolation.

What coronavirus means for PET’s courses and support for learners

As part of the lockdown, prison education departments have also been closed. What this means for our work is still developing. It is likely that many prisons will not be able to support people in applying for courses in the normal way.

However, working together with prison and education staff, our team are doing their utmost to continue to deliver courses and provide support to learners where we can. We are now working from home and are equipped to process course applications remotely.

Get in touch with our team

If you are currently supporting a family member or friend with their studies and have any questions, or you would like to pass on a message from your loved one regarding our courses, please send us an email.

Free resources for learners

We have been working with education providers to get free learning material to people in their cells. The Prisoner Learning Alliance has also published an In Cell Activity Hub, which brings together free resources from a range of organisations to download and print for learners. You can find it here.

Other support for family and friends

The Ministry of Justice has published a Q&A for the family and friends of people in prison to answer questions about the impact of coronavirus – including information on visits, other ways to contact your loved ones, and mental health. Read the Q&A here.

The National Prisoners’ Families Helpline can also provide advice and information. Visit their website here.

We will aim to keep you updated as the situation develops. Please know that everyone at PET is thinking of you, and we are doing all we can to help your loved one with their studies.

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