Welsh mothers in prison receive more funding by Welsh Government to keep in contact with children

The benefits of the scheme recorded improved wellbeing among mothers and a reduced risk of self-harm. Credit: PA

Around £180,000 in further funding has been allocated for Welsh mothers in prison to stay in touch with their children.

The project, called 'Visiting Mum', identifies women at risk of losing contact with their children by arranging visits and providing transport for them.

It comes as some inmates from Wales have to serve out their sentences in England far away given there are no female prisons here.

The programme, which is delivered by the Prison Advice & Care Trust (Pact), supported a total of 68 families between June 2021 and August 2022.

The benefits of the move recorded improved wellbeing among mothers, reduced the risk of self-harm, as well as improving long-term outcomes of their children.

A total of 68 families between were helped by the scheme over an 11 month period. Credit: PA

The Welsh Government and HM Prison and Probation Service announced the continued funding on Friday (January 20), both contributing £90,000 each for 2023-24.

Mick Antoniw, counsel general and minister for the constitution, explained: "We believe one of the key elements of the justice system should be rehabilitation.

"Justice is about more than courts and punishment; it is about people and families. Supporting people in prison to lead fulfilling lives when they are out of prison is an important responsibility of any effective approach to justice.

Meanwhile, Nadia Emblin from Pact, said: "While we believe that custodial sentences for women should only ever be used as a last resort, Visiting Mum ensures better outcomes for both mothers in custody and their children in the community.

"Our evaluation shows the positive impact of this kind of holistic support on the mental health and wellbeing of the whole family."

She added that this scheme is "vital in reducing offending" with 39% "less likely to return to prison".

"One mum recently told us that it offered 'a light in the dark' for her during her sentence, and we hope that we can provide this hope for many more women in the future", Ms Emblin concluded.

The Welsh Government has argued for the devolution of the justice system and that the focus should be on prevention and rehabilitation. It also highlighted prison populations could be reduced by the use of fewer "counterproductive" short sentences.