Spark Inside is committed to ensuring people in prison are not forgotten during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Whilst we are unable to safely continue our work with young men in prison, we are working with other organisations and individuals to ensure the protection of people living in, and leaving, prison.
We have collaborated with four other specialist criminal justice charities – Switchback; StandOut; A Band of Brothers; and the Zahid Mubarak Trust – to call for immediate action by the government to assist those leaving prison and who face particularly acute challenges: ill-health, homelessness, and an increased risk of reoffending amongst others. In normal times people leaving prison struggle to access basic services like healthcare, housing and benefits. With immediate action, we can prevent these problems from being amplified during the pandemic. In a short briefing document, we have outlined eight urgent measures for prison-leavers for the Ministry of Justice to implement, safeguarding the health and wellbeing of prison staff, prison-leavers, and the communities to which they will return.
Spark Inside has also joined Inquest, Women in Prison, and hundreds of other charities, individuals, and community groups to campaign for the government to drastically reduce the prison population during the COVID-19 outbreak. This action will protect the health of prisoners, detainees, frontline staff and the general public. In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister we have called for the Government to take action which has the potential to save thousands of lives inside and outside of prisons.
Our CEO Vicki Cardwell says:
“Spark Inside believe it’s more important now than ever to come together and advocate for people in prison that are even more at risk now than before, and we are proud to be standing with other amazing organisations to do so. During this time, we are striving to ensure that people in prison are still supported”.
The criminal justice voluntary sector is a resilient and tenacious force and we will continue to advocate for our beneficiaries as they face up to the realities of this virus and the measures implemented to contain it. You can read Spark Inside’s full COVID-19 statement here.