Time and time again research shows us that children need their fathers, their grandfathers. Where there is love there is hope and the ability to continue to have strong, positive relationships no matter what barriers are in place. I see the love and hope every week, it flows through the barred windows and the cast iron doors. There is humour, there is tension, there is opportunity for the dads to be more and be better.
Over the upcoming weeks and months VolteFace are travelling around the country and working with the people at the core of these good practices to develop alternative policies to improve prison safety. If the reforms are to be successful, it is essential that members of the prison service are supported with the expertise of those who already work to reduce drug-related harms in wider society.
A criminal record shouldn't be synonymous with a future without opportunity. The justice secretary talks about 'forgiveness' and 'redemption'. It is in our public interest to build both a criminal justice system which rehabilitates, and a society which gives second chances. All we need now is greater public interest, to help drive this revolution - let's end youth offending altogether.
The route to achieving improvements to prisoner education is hedged with risks and pitfalls. But it is the right journey to be embarking on, and Dame Sally's vision for a prison system with education at the heart is a great way to start. I, and the rest of PET, looks forward to working to support prison governors, officers, teachers and prisoners themselves every step of the way.
Today's Justice Select Committee report into safety in Britain's prisons reveals a crisis in mental health, with rising levels of self-harm, drug abuse and suicide. A few weeks ago, prison officers at Wormwood Scrubs walked out because they could not guarantee safety for themselves or the prisoners. Yet Justice Secretary Michael Gove seems incapable of action.
The imminent closure of HMP Holloway in London, the largest and most iconic women's prison in the UK, and the also notorious HMP Cornton Vale in Scotland, are big strides in the right direction. Let them be strides towards dedicated community based services that understand the realities of women's lives and can make a lasting difference to their children's lives too.
Unsurprisingly, we must look to Silicon Valley for the new, cutting-edge innovation. Or more precisely, to the hills overlooking the bay, which are home to San Quentin, California's oldest prison. To put San Quentin in a UK justice context, it would be a category A prison - it's home to 699 death row inmates.
Prisons are necessary. But we must ensure that we as a society do everything possible to keep people out of prisons in the first place. And we must ensure that truly effective support is available to the vast majority of offenders who would much rather have a regular job to support them and their families. That means that prisons must welcome with open arms those organisations and companies willing to help offenders back in to society.
Over the past few years it has been widely publicised that imprisonment for women should be the last resort and the criminal justice system is not the place to support women who have complex health, social and welfare needs. What will the New Year, new inspector and new era for women in prison mean?