Lord Farmer Opens New Bright Space at HMP Bronzefield
October 24, 2018
Last Thursday saw the official opening of our new 'Bright Space' room in the Visits Hall; a private space that residents can book for their children and families to spend quality time together. The Bright Space was opened by Lord Farmer, author of the Farmer Review on the importance of family ties to prevent reoffending. The space provides a child-centric, enriching play environment in the prison visiting area and is designed to support positive interactions between children and their mothers; to encourage more children to visit frequently, so that family relationships can be maintained, therefore supporting the aim to reduce reoffending.
The Bright Space was funded by Bright Horizons, a foundation set up to to help children and families experiencing disadvantage and crisis, as a result of domestic violence, parental imprisonment, child abuse and ill health.
The room has defined play areas to cater for babies through to teens, and opportunities for children and their mothers to enjoy role play, art, construction, reading, games, and homework activities together.
Research from the Ministry of Justice found that, ‘for a prisoner who receives visits from a family member, the odds of reoffending are 39% lower than for those who do not’, while the 2017 Farmer Review states that, ‘harnessing the resource of good family relationships must be a golden thread running through the processes of all prisons'.
Ian Whiteside, Director of HMP Bronzefield said, “The family room has been transformed thanks to the efforts and fundraising from Bright Horizons. It is a pleasure to partner with a business who is committed to delivering on their Corporate Social Responsibility by improving the lives of socially disadvantaged children. It was also a great honour to welcome Lord Farmer to the prison to officially open the family room; he used his time here to talk with some of the residents and staff who are helping to inform his latest review, looking at family ties in the female prison estate.”
On seeing the family room one resident, whose grandchildren visit her at HMP Bronzefield, commented, “my grandchildren are going to love playing here, they visit me every week. It is a joy to see them and they are going to really enjoy playing with these toys and exploring the area.
James Tugendhat, a Trustee and Director of the Foundation said, “We are delighted to open this Bright Space at Bronzefield Prison. I have heard first-hand about the impact our Bright Spaces have on families affected by parental imprisonment. We know that the children of imprisoned parents experience multiple disadvantages, and we hope this Bright Space will encourage them to visit their parents, resulting in the strengthening of their family attachments, in an environment where their needs have been very much taken into account.”
Justice Minister, Edward Argar said; “Building and sustaining family ties is not only a vital part of successful rehabilitation but it plays an important role in improving the life chances of the next generation. I am delighted to see initiatives like Bright Spaces helping women in custody maintain their family relationships.
“As part of our dedicated female offender strategy, we have commissioned Lord Farmer to conduct an in-depth review into the importance of family ties for women in custody and in the community.”