FRIENDS and families of prisoners in North East prisons will benefit from improved standards of care and support thanks to a new Visitors’ Charter.

The Charter has been agreed by the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) and NEPACS, a North East charity that aims to build bridges between prisoners, their families and their communities.

It contains 13 commitments that the prison service and NEPACS will aim to deliver to visitors.

These include ensuring visits take place on time, providing child-friendly facilities and giving clear information about prison visits and resettlement opportunities.

The Charter was launched this week at an event in Linthorpe Methodist Resource Centre, Middlesbrough, where prisoners’ loved ones came together to have their say on how services could be improved.

Helen Attewell, chief executive of NEPACS, said: “The Charter has been created in response to feedback from families and friends of prisoners who have taken part in our previous Visitors’ Voice gatherings.

“The promises we have made in terms of what we will provide in our NEPACS’s visitor centres and the prisons’ visit rooms are what our families and friends of prisoners said they wanted.

“By gaining commitment to the charter from the prison service, NOMS and NEPACS we can work together to ensure that a minimum standard is provided for visitors and help to improve the visiting experience for everyone coming to a North East prison.”