Sarah's Story

My son, Daniel has been in prison for 7 years now, and the challenges we face have altered during that time. One of the most isolating situations for us is being so far away – the distance makes us feel powerless.

It is the things that are so small that are greatly escalated if you don’t have access to them. Daniel had problems with his teeth and his stomach, and getting access to medical care was such a challenge. Daniel was in agony for 6 weeks with toothache, and being so far away knowing he was in desperate pain made me feel so helpless, so isolated. After a lot of back and forth Prisoners Abroad managed to organise a disclaimer and Daniel was granted the treatment, the cost was covered through one of their essential funds, and we were able to relax. It is the constant worry that makes things harder; that Daniel is unwell, uncomfortable, scared – which mean small relief like this helps build us back up and make us stronger.

I’ll never forget what he said when we spoke after the treatment: “I’ll remember the feeling of sitting on that cushioned dentist’s chair for a long time now” – it nearly broke my heart.

The prison Daniel is in has over 1,200 men in detainment; yet it only has capacity for 700. I fear every day for the danger he is in.

Looking back to the early years; the distance was one thing, the distress at the situation was another, but it was the sheer loneliness and frustration that took its toll on our family. After finding out about Prisoners Abroad, the relationship that we started to build started to make everything we were going through make sense. The support they offered was like no other, they were strong for us, calm and knowledgeable with no element of judgement.

The family days in those first couple of years will always stick with me; hearing about other people’s experiences and knowing we were not alone gave me so much strength. We were surrounded by resilient people who were chasing the light at the end of the tunnel, and others who just like us were entering into something completely new. This support has had such an impact, there were common themes, barriers were broken down and that’s why it feels so good now to attend a Prisoners Abroad session and pass on our own experiences, and know that we are staying positive for Daniel.     

Combating stigma helps reduce isolation.

Prisoners Abroad helps family members affected by a loved one’s imprisonment by providing one to one support as well as hosting family support groups around the country and arranging overseas visits.