Help and support at court
Support at courts and listening services for defendants and their family or friends
If you are anxious and worried about an anticipated prison sentence then the Nepacs support at courts service can provide helpful advice and assistance.
Our team of volunteers are available within the courts to provide relevant and up-to-date information on: prison visiting arrangements, ID, prison visits booking lines, maintaining contact with your family member and other issues relevant immediately after a prison sentence has been given and during the early stages of custody.
We are presently based at Teesside, Newcastle and Durham Crown Courts, and information on our telephone listening service is also available in magistrates courts.
This service is confidential and free.
Confidential telephone listening service
The courts team also offer a telephone listening service which provides ongoing short term support to families, from police custody suites, through to courts, and during a prison sentence. This can help to alleviate worries and anxiety, at a time when family members are trying to cope with their changing circumstances.
This service is available:
- Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 1pm to 4pm
- Contact 07854 594012 or 07774 385276
- Text or leave a message and our team will call you back.
PLEASE NOTE THAT DUE TO COVID-19 OUR TEAM ARE NOT CURRENTLY AVAILABLE IN COURTS AND THE TELEPHONE SUPPORT LINE IS TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE. We are continuing to provide telephone support through our visitors centre staff and family support team. Find out details HERE.
The Nepacs Support at Court project is funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.
Helpful information for defendants, their families or friends
Prison Reform Trust (PRT) has produced an information sheet aimed at women who think they may be going to prison. It includes a checklist of practical steps they can take to prepare themselves, such as making sure they have a list of family contact details, as well as explaining what they can expect to happen in the first couple of days. The idea came from women in contact with PRT’s advice and information service who said they would have liked this kind of information before they went to prison. It includes tips from women who have been through the experience themselves. Visit the Prison Reform Trust website HERE.
Safeguarding Children when Sentencing Mothers: Film and Briefing Paper
This briefing paper is designed to help parents who are awaiting a sentencing hearing in a criminal court. It will help you, if you are a parent, to make sure that the judge or magistrate thinks about the effects on your children of any sentence that the court considers.
If you are a primary carer preparing for a sentencing hearing you may want to show this to your legal representative.
(The briefing paper uses the word mother to mean any parent who is the primary carer of a child. The primary carer is the main person who looks after a child day to day; in most cases it is the child’s mother or father. ‘Mother’ is used in this paper because more often the mother is the main carer for the children, and so if a mother goes to prison it causes even greater changes for a child. It is not suggesting that children don’t also suffer negatively when their father goes to prison but the focus of this briefing is on primary carers.)
The film that accompanies this leaflet is available on Oxford Law Faculty YouTube and below: