Frequently Asked Questions
To help us get you the quickest answer to your enquiry, please select one of the options below.
I would like to speak to WIP about a press or media opportunity.
I am worried about someone in prison - can you help?
It is natural to wonder about a loved one’s wellbeing when they are in prison.
If you are worried about them, you can get in touch with the Safer Custody Team by phoning them directly in the prison where they are held. All prisons in England are listed on this government website.
If you feel you would like to talk to someone about your own feelings, you can ring the Samaritans, either at your local branch or on their national number 116 123, at any time of the day or night. Anyone in prison can also ring the Samaritans from inside the prison.
Alternatively, you can call The Prisoners’ Families Helpline on 0808 808 2003 Monday-Friday 9.00am-8.00pm and Saturday-Sunday 10.00am-3.00pm.
I’m trying to find out which prison my partner/daughter/friend is in, can you help?
For confidentiality and safeguarding purposes, Women in Prison is unable to access or share this information.
Please use the Prisoner Location Service to find where those you care about are being held.
Can you help with my research project?
Unfortunately, we do not have the capacity to help with individual research, as we are a small organisation with limited staffing and resources.
Post-doctoral level research, proposals from professional academics or think tanks and other research bodies might be considered on a case-by-case basis, at the discretion of our External Affairs and Campaigns Directorate. Please contact email@example.com with your query. Give as much detail as possible on how the research findings might progress WIP’s services or campaigns and the stage the research is at in terms of permissions and ethical approval. Outline your timetable, your expectations of WIP's involvement and whether our participation, time and follow-up support given to interviewees (if our clients) will be funded.
Please note that, if your research relates to individuals who are in prison or on licence in the community, we are unlikely to partner until you have secured permission from the Ministry of Justice.
Due to the nature of our work, all contacts with our clients adhere to strict standards of confidentiality. We will only grant access for researchers to interview our clients if a support plan is in place, ensuring that participants find the process to be positive and rewarding, have access to support and are engaged with, and remunerated for, their time throughout.
Can you share my fundraiser/crowdfunder?
We receive many requests to share individual crowdfunders and fundraising initiatives. These are often for brilliant initiatives by individuals and organisations that we fully support. However, resources do not enable us to do due diligence that would enable us to promote these fairly and transparently to our supporters. Our website and social media platforms are used primarily to promote key campaigning messages, raise awareness of specialist services and elevate the collective voices of women affected by prison and the criminal justice system. It is not a platform for individual fundraising.
I’m doing an arts/support project and would like to work with women currently in prison. Can I partner with you?
Unfortunately, we are unable to facilitate and support this exchange, as we are not part of the prison system.
To contact the prisons directly, see our list of Women's Prisons Contact Details. Some of the prisons have an Art department; otherwise, we find good contacts to be in the education department or with Librarians.
Also, make sure to check out the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance for useful information and contacts.
I’m doing an arts/support project and would like to work with women in one of your Women's Centres. Can I partner with you?
Thank you for your interest and support for WIP. Our Women's Centres all have a full timetable of workshops and activities, but we are always open to more offers of support that adhere to strict principles of safeguarding, confidentiality and duty of care. Find out more about our Women's Centres here.
We would also recommend that you take a look at Clinks for a directory of voluntary sector organisations that work in the criminal justice system as well as job vacancies and volunteering opportunities.
Can I volunteer at Women in Prison?
Thank you for your interest in volunteering and supporting Women in Prison. It is important to us that our volunteers get as much out of the experience as they give to WIP. To ensure this is the case, we must, regrettably, limit the number of volunteers WIP can accommodate, as we do not have the capacity to offer opportunities to everyone who contacts us. All our vacancies and volunteer opportunities can be found on our Join Our Team page and on twitter @WIP_live.
We regret that we do not have the capacity to take on students on placements or any other work experience schemes.
If you are interested in our EPIC peer-mentoring scheme, please go to our Join Our Team page for more details.
Can someone from Women in Prison speak at my event?
Thank you very much for your interest in Women in Prison and our work. WIP representatives are always delighted to give presentations and speeches or sit on panels to discuss our services and campaigns. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with as much detail as possible about yourself and your event and we will let you know if this is a possibility.
Why is your organisation only for women?
Women in Prison is a women-only organisation. This means that all staff, trustees and volunteers are women. We provide women-only services and campaign for a recognition and response to the distinct needs of women affected by the criminal justice system.
The previous life experiences of women caught in the criminal justice system make the need for women-only spaces and specialist services particularly acute. The lives of women in prison are often characterised by sexual abuse, gender-based violence, domestic abuse, mental ill health and family breakdown. These experiences are compounded by the experience of prison - a system based on punishment, disempowerment and control.
Our long-term work shows that women-only support is necessary to provide a safe, positive and empowering response to the discrimination and inequality that women experience in the criminal justice system and throughout their lives.
Achieving equality does not mean treating everyone exactly the same; equality of experience and outcomes sometimes requires diversity of provision. Programmes to support resettlement following prison will disadvantage women if they do not respond to the distinct root causes behind a woman's contact with the criminal justice system.
What about the men? Aren't the issues the same for them? Don't they need support too?
Our entire criminal justice system needs transforming, for all age groups and genders, and we fight passionately for a significant reduction in the prison population for everyone through investment and growth in community support and housing. Currently, men make up around 95% of the prison population in the UK - there are 108 men's prisons and 12 women's in England and Wales – though no women’s prison in Wales. This means that the majority of voluntary sector organisations working in the criminal justice system already provide excellent support for men. Men and women in prison share many characteristics. However, we believe that women, as a minority group, require some particular attention so that their gender-specific needs. such as pregnancy in prison and the impact of gender-based violence, are taken into account. Therefore, unlike most organisations, our focus is on women only. The specialist support we provide and the changes we campaign for are focused on women's specific needs and circumstances.
Do you provide support for transgender women?
Yes, for thirty five years, one of the main purposes of Women in Prison has been to offer support to women, trans women and trans men, in women’s prisons, in the community and, for the past decade, in women’s centres, in order that they be best equipped to rebuild their lives. As far as resources allow, we will continue to do this. WIP respects the right of any individual to transition. Drawing on our experience in providing such support, we recognise the significant difficulties that this often involves. We support the right of women and transgender people to access services that meet their needs.