Friends of Erlestoke Prison

Friends of Erlestoke Prison

At a glance


  • Children / families
  • Community safety / victim support / domestic violence
  • Criminal justice
  • Men
  • Mental health
  • Older people / later life
  • Substance misuse

Other details

Organisation type: 
Geographical remit: 


Most prisoners will eventually be released into our communities and will have to re-establish themselves back into society. Unless HM Prison Service makes effective interventions whilst the men are in custody it is highly unlikely that they will change their behaviour and many will revert back to old habits and patterns upon release, which leads to re-offending and more victims of crime.

It is well documented that the risk of men re-offending is much reduced if they have a home and a job upon release, and have been supported throughout their sentence by friends and family. HM Prison Service works to help the men in these areas, but with budget cuts and staff shortages, there is a gap between what could be provided and what is actually provided.

Any rehabilitated prisoner, who becomes a law-abiding citizen, will provide benefit to the community, particularly if he is employed and properly supporting his family. The charity works with HMP Erlestoke to help prisoners take responsibility for themselves and their future outside of the prison. The charity does this by encouraging prisoners to actively plan and prepare for their future by developing a good work ethic, face up to their crimes and their offending behaviours and take the opportunity to educate and develop themselves whilst in custody.

The charity offers volunteering opportunities for the local community to work with the prison to help achieve its aims. The Friends of Erlestoke Prison aim to raise awareness of prison life and build understanding of how many of the prisoners ended up in prison, often through mental illness, drug/alcohol addiction, abusive childhoods and poor education (to name a few). Prison is not a punishment – being placed within an institution, having your life ‘managed’ by someone else – withdrawal of freedom is the punishment. But prison is also an opportunity to change. The Friends are realistic and know that even with powerful interventions, some prisoners will not change. However, if the interventions work for a percentage of the prison population, communities will benefit from the integration of non-violent, employable men with skills and trades who are able to support themselves and their families. People are often prejudiced because of what they don’t know – as more locals become involved with the prison and understand what it is trying to do, they may become more accepting of ex-prisoners, particularly those who want to transform their lives. 


The Friends focus their work on:

  • Support to prisoners’ families and children
  • Rehabilitation and therapy through drama, art, music and yoga
  • Education and skills development
  • Innovative rehabilitation techniques which inspire prisoners to change behaviours and transform their lives
  • A fundraising appeal to build an all weather sports pitch within the prison grounds

No current opportunities

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