We aim to reduce the suffering and isolation of this vulnerable and often invisible group and help alleviate stress. We provide information about foreign prison conditions and criminal justice systems, and our multi-lingual team provides a wide range of practical and emotional support.

1,356 families and friends of overseas prisoners used our services last year, of which 508 were new to Prisoners Abroad. The chart below shows their relationships to the person in prison.


Family & friends by region

The chart below shows the breakdown of family/friends helped last year by their geographical region. The largest groups are in London and outside of the UK, the majority of these latter families being related to prisoners in countries such as the USA and Australia, where prisoners face deportation and separation.

Family Days & Family Support Groups

Last year we held 30 Family Support Groups. For some, there was a return to 'in person' meetings as well as online Zoom sessions that started up during the pandemic. In some locations, there was a hybrid mixture of both formats. Family Support and Information sessions also continued with eight sessions dedicated to a specific country or topic.

A total of 79 people attended at least one support group (a total of 125 attendances). The table below shows the breakdown of attendance by group.

Of the people who attended*:

  • 91% said it helped them share experiences with other families
  • 88% said it helped them feel less anxious
  • 92% said it helped them cope with the emotional impact of the imprisonment
  • 98% said it helped them feel less isolated

*of the 44 people who completed an evaluation survey

When asked what the most useful aspect of Prisoners Abroad's family service was, they said:

"To have a sympathetic ear for a stressful experience. Help to maintain a sense of normality for the person in prison. The total absence of judgement over the rights or wrongs on the case in question. The very calm manner of all Prisoners Abroad personnel." - The father of a person detained in Spain.

"Access to knowledgeable and supportive staff, and a non-judgemental forum to share experiences with friends, relatives and partners of other prisoners." - The father of a person detained in the USA.

"I live in the USA, and knowing that there is an organisation in the UK that can help me deported son settle in is a tremendous relief. He hasn't lived there for 50 years." - The mother of a person detained in the USA.

"Complete help and support on all aspects of having a family member in prison." - The father of a person detained in Spain.