By Bryony Lewis, Caseworker

My name is Bryony and have recently celebrated one year of working at Prisoners Abroad. As I pass this milestone, it is a perfect time to reflect on my first year with this truly incredible organisation.

I have always studied and worked in the area of criminal justice, however, I never really felt like I knew what I wanted to do with my experience. That was until I started at Prisoners Abroad. I am one of three caseworkers assisting over 800 (accurate as of June 2024) prisoners and their friends and families in countries all across the world. Every day, I am overwhelmed by what a privilege it is to help those going through the challenge of being in prison overseas, as well as those supporting a loved one during this time.

Although, it is impossible to fully encapsulate the work of a case worker in just a few sentences, my day-to-day work consists of answering queries over the phone and by email, liaising with Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office staff, replying to letters from those in prison, and providing emotional support to those struggling with the imprisonment of a loved one.

Working with such wide range of countries, people, and circumstances means that no working day is the same.

This is something I particularly enjoy about working at Prisoners Abroad. Although we face a wide breadth of challenges in the casework team, being able to overcome these and support those who have been made vulnerable by overseas imprisonment is extremely rewarding. 

A smaller role I have taken on in the last year at Prisoners Abroad is managing and organising our little library of donated books. Of course, our lifesaving grants make a huge difference to someone’s time in prison, but it is humbling to see the impact something as small as sending a reading book can have. We receive lots of letters from people in prison expressing their gratitude for receiving a book parcel from us and detailing how these can act as a vital escape from the realities of being in prison abroad.

I get so much joy from finding a book on our shelves that matches a person’s interests and preferences, because I know how important it is for someone in prison to know that there is someone out there who cares.

I’ve learnt so much over the last year and continue to learn new things every day. I am grateful to be part of a team that puts compassion at the forefront of everything we do. I am so proud of the work we do here at Prisoners Abroad and I hope to still be a part of it for years to come.

Being offered a lifeline can change everything. 

Prisoners Abroad translates human rights law into practical life-saving actions by providing prisoners access to vitamins and essential food, emergency medical care, freepost envelopes to keep in touch with home and books and magazines to help sustain mental health.

Can you help to support our life-saving work by donating today?