Having a loved one in prison can be difficult, worrying and even frightening. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed. This page guides you towards services that can help you through this difficult time. We have divided the page into problems commonly faced by families.

Our Family Support Group meets in central Brighton every month usually on Monday at 1pm. Please Email or call 07795462149 for details of exact location.

Or call our First Stop Advice Line on 01273 499843  for information about local support. Fridays from 10-4.

At other times please call Prisoners’ Families and Friends Service on 0808 808 3444 or the Offenders’ Families Helpline on 0808 808 2003. .


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There are organisations here which help children cope with having a family member in prison.Many families don’t know whether they should tell children that a friend or relative has gone to prison. These resources and organisations will be able to help.

Our Family Support Group meets in Brighton every month. Usually on Mondays at 1pm. Please contact for details of the next meeting or call on 07795462149 or visit our Facebook Page:

Telling the Children, Action for Prisoners’ Families A booklet that helps families talk to children about the imprisonment of a loved one.

Tommy’s Dad A children’s picture book which explores what happens when child’s dad is sent to prison.

Early Help Hub The Early Help Hub is the first place to contact if you have any worries or concerns about you or your family. They will help you find the right support.

Children’s Centres If you have children who are five and under your local children’s centre may be able to give you advice and support in communicating with your children. For your local Children’s Centre: Children’s Centre Brighton

Offenders’ Families Helpline Free and confidential helpline and website. Tel: 0808 808 2003

Schools: Schools should be able to support your child through this difficult time. A teacher, learning assistant or learning mentor that your child trusts will be able to listen to your child and should be able to keep your information confidential.

Parenting Team Brighton and Hove Support for parents in Brighton.



Visiting a prison can be a bewildering process. Gather as much information as you can beforehand to make your visit easier. Most male prisoners in Sussex will be sent to HMP Lewes and most women will be sent to HMP Bronzefield though this not always the case.

HMP Lewes Information about visiting. Visiting times at HMP Lewes will be from 2-4 every day except Friday when they will be from 9:30-11.

HMP Bronzefield Booking lines are now closed and visits, including reception visits, must be booked via the prisoner.

Other Prisons Information about all prisons can be found on the Ministry of Justice Website.

Visitors’ Centres Many prisons around the country have visitors’ centres where you can wait and get useful information and support. It is worth phoning ahead to visitors’ centres to find out what to expect on a visit. Some will produce their own literature. You can find out more information on the Inside Information website. Or from the Ministry of Justice website.

Prisoner Location Service If you are not sure which prison your loved one has been sent to you can contact the Prisoner Location Service. PO Box 2152, Birmingham, B15 1SD Fax: 0121 626 3474. Email link here

Sent to Prison A booklet which explains some of the issues and concerns around visiting a prison.

Email a Prisoner This service allows families to indirectly email prisoners at some prisons.


Coping with the loss of a family member can be traumatic and you may have to adapt to being a ‘lone’ parent. These organisations may be able to help.

Our Family Support Group meets in Brighton every month. Usually on Mondays at 1pm. Please contact for details of the next meeting or call on 07795462149 or visit our Facebook Page:

Living with Separation Booklet from Action for Prisoners’ Families. Free for families. Tel: 0208 812 3600

Affect A support group for family members affected by serious crime. Tel: 01329 832254

Prisoners’ Friends and Families Service PFFS provide a national helpline and a telephone befriending service and a series of useful factsheets. Tel: 0808 808 3444

Offenders’ Families Helpline Free and confidential helpline and website. Tel: 0808 808 2003

Prison Chat UK An online chat forum for those affected by having a loved-one in prison.

Family Lives Helpline and website for anyone caring for children. Tel: 0808 800 2222


Having someone sent to prison can cause severe financial problems due to loss of earnings, change in benefits and the cost of visiting prison or sending money in to the prisoner. It is easy for debts to accumulate.

Help with cost of visits Some financial help may be available for the cost of visiting prison.

St Luke’s Advice Centre St Luke’s offers free advice and guidance to people who need support with benefits or those struggling with debt. Tel: 01273 549203

Job Centre Plus (Benefits) Tel: 0800 0 55 66 88

Direct Gov Lots of financial advice as well as information about health and schools.

National Debtline Tel: 0808 808 4000

Citizens’ Advice Bureau Assisted Prison Visits Financial support for people visiting loved-ones in prison.

East Sussex Credit Union Credit Unions provide low cost ways of saving and borrowing money.


You may find people in your community are being hostile towards you because of the crime committed by your family member. You may also find yourself unfairly represented in the press. You have a right to be safe and free from intimidation.

Anti Social Behaviour Team The Partnership Community Safety team can support you in dealing with crime and community safety.

Mediation Service Resolves disputes between neighbours without use of solicitors or courts. Independent, confidential, impartial and free. Tel: 01273 700812

Sussex Police For emergency calls dial 999. For non-emergency calls dial 101. Tel: 0845 6070999

Independent Press Standards Organisation 

Victim Support Offers free and confidential advice to victims of crime. Tel: 0845 3030900

Dealing with the media fact sheet: This briefing from Action for Prisoners’ Families produces a free briefing sheet which helps families deal with the media.


You may have concerns about the health or safety of a prisoner or worries about the way they are being treated.

Prison Governor Write to the prison governor. They should reply within 30 days. Details can be found on the prison service website.

Duty Governor If you have immediate concerns about a prisoner, call the prison and ask to speak to the duty governor or the chaplain.

Chaplaincy The prison chaplain can check on a prisoner if there are concerns about his or her wellbeing. They can also provide reassurance for the family and pass on concerns or messages.

Family Support Worker Some prisons employ family support workers specifically to work with families and prisoners. They may be based in the visitors’ centre or in the prison itself.

Prison Reform Trust Gives free and confidential advice to prisoners and their families. Tel: 020 7251 5070, 0808 808 0060 (freephone for prisoners). For the Families and Friends Service Helpline contact: 08088083444.


When someone is sent to prison you may need help paying the mortgage or rent or you may even need to be re-housed.

Shelter Helpline and web information for offenders. Tel: 0808 800 4444

Citizens’ Advice Bureau An advice leaflet on prisoners and housing.

Brighton Housing Trust Housing advice and support, legal support, benefits and debt advice. Brighton Community Base, 113 Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XG. Tel: 01273 234737


Are you worried about another family member using substances? Or about drugs paraphernalia left behind after arrest? Are you under pressure to bring drugs into the prison?

Our Family Support Group meets in Brighton every month. Usually on Mondays at 1pm. Please contact for details of the next meeting or call on 07795462149 or visit our Facebook Page:

Pavilions: Families and Carers Service: Supports those affected by another’s drug and alcohol use. If you are a carer and are effected by these problems then pavilion offers local support services including an outreach team, support groups, advice and information, counselling and many more brilliant services.  Tel:01273680714

RUOK If you have concerns about your child’s use of alcohol or would like advice on how to talk to your teenager about alcohol and drugs please contact RUOK. Tel: 01273 293966

FRANK A website and helpline offering advice, information and support to anyone concerned about substance misuse, including drug misusers, their families, friends and carers. Tel: 0800 77 66 00

Adfam An umbrella organisation which gives information to families of substance misusers.


RISE A domestic abuse charity working in Brighton & Hove and throughout West Sussex.

Safe in Sussex A domestic abuse charity helping those in Sussex.


Brighton and Hove Council Health and Wellbeing webpage has lots of useful advice about what to do to support your physical and mental health. The first stop if you have any health concerns should be to consult your GP.

The Carers Centre for Brighton and Hove: Have you been caring for a family member with mental health issues, learning difficulties, a drug or alcohol problem, dementia or some one with a physical disability? Then contact your local carers centre, which offers a wide range of support and advice. Tel: 01273746222 or email at


Resettlement advice for people with criminal records. Tel: 0300 123 1999

Sussex Pathways
 operates a mentoring support service for offenders being released back into the community, primarily from HMP Lewes & HMP Ford Open but also HMP Bronzefield & HMP Highdown.

 Community Office: 
01273 468160
; email here

Rethink Mental Illness: a useful website which gives detailed information about how to prepare for the release of a family member in prison and discusses any issues around prison and mental health. Tel: 0300 5000 927

Action for Prisoners Families: a booklet with information on how to prepare for a family members release from prison.

Prison Office
 HMP Lewes 1 Brighton Road, Lewes BN7 1EA. Tel: 
01273 785335
; email here

Support for women at every stage of the criminal justice. Tel: 01273 698 036 + option 3; email here


Ministry of Justice Sentence Explanation 
Government website explaining basic sentence types.

Youth Sentences Explained Offenders’ families’ helpline factsheet on youth sentencing


East Sussex Courts 
Addresses and phone numbers of Brighton and East Sussex Courts, along with maps

West Sussex Courts 
Addresses and phone numbers of West Sussex Courts, along with maps

Offenders’ Families Helpline 
Some useful factsheets about what to expect when visiting court.


To contact Sam or Denis at Sussex Prisoners’ Families: Email us here

Registered office: 39-41 Surrey St, Brighton BN1 3PB 01273 499843

Sussex Children and Families of Prisoners is a Community Interest Company Limited by Guarantee. Company number 8631063.