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Samaritans send freepost' envelopes to jail inmates to write to them

PUBLISHED: 12:15 31 October 2008 | UPDATED: 13:44 05 October 2010

INMATES in HM prisons are being given free post' envelopes—so they can write to the Samaritans if they need emotional help. It means they can jot down heir troubled thoughts in confidence to the emotional support charity without paying postage

Mike Brooke

INMATES in HM prisons are being given free post’ envelopes—so they can write to the Samaritans if they need emotional help.

It means they can jot down heir troubled thoughts in confidence to the emotional support charity without paying postage.

Prisoners in London and across the country are seven times more likely to commit suicide than the average person on the outside within the first 48 hours of starting their jail term—the time when they are most vulnerable adjusting to loss of freedom, Home Office Research has shown.

“It’s essential prisoners are able to get emotional support,” says Samaritans’ deputy Service Support director Joe Ferns.

“Providing free-post envelopes means those who have had problems finding the money can still reach us.”

Custody officers at HM prisons such as Pentonville, Holloway, Wormwood Scrubs, Wandsworth and even top security Belmarsh in south-east London make sure the prepaid envelopes are available to any inmate wanting to write to the organisation.

Prepaid envelopes are also included in any replies to prisoners who have written to the Samaritans, sent in sealed envelopes to each inmate through the prison governor to ensure they feel safe and secure.

But Samaritans also operate a listener’ scheme in the prison population itself for those who would rather talk face-to-face with someone. They have a list of selected prisoners they have trained to offer confidential emotional support to their fellow inmates.

Prisoners can also contact Samaritans by telephone. Prisons have direct lines to the charity.

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