The voluntary sector in prisons in England and Wales: Where are we and what lies ahead?

Professor Rosie Meek3
3Royal Holloway University of London, Egham, United Kingdom

There is a strong history of voluntary sector involvement in British prisons, spanning involvement in a wide range of services, including prisoner education, healthcare, housing support and through-the-gate provision. Austerity measures of recent years have further strengthened the role that these diverse organisations play in the care and rehabilitation of our burgeoning prison population. This paper will outline the current context and set out some key challenges that lie ahead for the voluntary sector in prisons, with particular attention to the changing commissioning landscape and a raft of prison and probation reforms.


Professor Rosie Meek is a psychologist in the School of Law, Royal Holloway University of London, UK. Her research (primarily with Dr Alice Mills) has explored a wide range of features of voluntary and community sector involvement in Criminal Justice, with a particular focus on prisoner rehabilitation. She is co-editor of the 2016 text ‘The Voluntary Sector in Prisons’ (Palgrave).


The society is devoted to promoting criminological study, research and practice in the region and bringing together persons engaged in all aspects of the field. The membership of the society reflects the diversity of persons involved in the field, including practitioners, academics, policy makers and students.

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