Foston Hall HMP Project


HMP Foston Hall is a women's prison housing up to a maximum of 310 prisoners at any one time. It is a remand prison and therefore many women are in and out on a regular basis, often for short periods of time. In addition to remand prisoners, Foston Hall houses prisoners serving the longest period of their sentence prior to transfer to other prisons or release.

The women have restricted access to phones, having to identify their preferred numbers and obtain consent for them to be added to their phone cards. They are not allowed access to any other phones unless a staff member is present and permission given to make phone calls. No access is allowed to the internet and only 2 letters per week are permitted.

Women have access to Job Centre Plus, Women in Prison, Education, Careers, Training and Offender Management Unit. The CAB have been present in the prison since April 2012.

Key Issues Identified

Solutions Implemented by the CAB


In conjunction with Foston Hall, mentors have been appointed from the prison population and trained to work with the CAB caseworker to provide a service to the women. The project started with 5 mentors and currently has 2 working [due to the other 3 being transferred out of the prison]. New mentors are in the process of being recruited.

The bureau designed and produced numerous forms to enable the mentors to have initial meetings with prisoners on the wings during the week. These forms including statistics recording, overall personal information, specific debt information forms, housing information sheets and contact details for appointments and reminders.

The mentors meet with the CAB caseworker every Wednesday morning when issues and solutions are discussed. Cases are also discussed and appointments made with the CAB worker if required. The mentors record in a diary all prisoners seen that week and make appointments for the caseworker in a separate diary.

During the last 6 months, the CAB have produced information sheets on subjects such as housing [to include what benefits are applicable] and debt for use by the mentors so that prisoners are fully aware of what they are able access and how.

The mentors have been a valuable asset to the service provided on 2 levels:

  1. Prisoners can identify with them as they are prisoners themselves and can therefore understand the restrictions placed on the women and the frustrations felt by them;
  2. The mentors are building up their own self confidence and learning new skills which they will be able to use when they are released.

Impact of Presence of Bureau:

Moving Forward

From the beginning of the project it was apparent that the one day per week the CAB spends in the prison is insufficient due to the demand for the service. There is still much to do in the prison to ensure that the project continues to support the women and to address their issues to include:

Sue Freeman
Prison Outreach Caseworker
November 2012