In America, according to the Seventies hit song, a yellow ribbon is the traditional welcome home to men released from prison.
In Galloway, the method of re-integrating a family member varies widely from household to household and it can be a stressful time for the children involved.
Now Scotland’s largest children’s charity, Aberlour Child Care Trust, has launched a new family support service delivered in partnership with the Scottish Prison Service and NHS Dumfries and Galloway Alcohol & Drugs Partnership to help family members returning from prison settle back into family life.
According to the latest Scottish Government statistics, it is estimated that roughly 27,000 children in Scotland are affected by a parent going into prison every year, around double the number of children affected by divorce. Research also shows that having a parent or family member in prison can have a serious impact on a child’s wellbeing and mental health, which can often be displayed through anti-social behaviour.
Paid for by the Scottish Government Challenge Fund, the new Aberlour Families2gether support service will work with short-term prisoners at HMP Dumfries whose sentence is less than four years, those on remand, and those on a Home Detention Curfew from 12 weeks prior to their release and during the first six months after release to help ease the crucial process of integrating back into the family home.
David Barr of Aberlour Trust commented: “Bespoke sessions with our workers offer emotional support and guidance for parents returning from prison and their families to ensure this process is safe and positive for all.
“The Family Support Worker also works closely with relatives of those in prison to help with practical tasks in the home, such as budgeting and meal preparations.”