Family Help Hubs

The Scottish Prison Service recognises children and families of prisoners are a hidden population who suffer greatly from the impact of a family member’s imprisonment. The impact of imprisonment on these vulnerable children and families is extensive. Imprisonment can be a traumatic experience for families too, and its impact  can be enduring.

The impact can include; 

  •       Risk to housing;
  •       Financial pressures;
  •       Problems in caring for children and the impact on the 16,500 children who lose a parent to imprisonment each year;
  •       Anxiety, distress and health problems;
  •       Rejection, stigma and victimisation by neighbours and the community.

In the long term, our ambition is to have a Family Help Hubs at each prison.  The SPS continues to work with community partners to explore this feasibility. At present we have Family Hubs at Cornton Vale, Perth, Polmont, Low Moss, Edinburgh and Grampian.

Cornton Vale Family Hub

We recognise that Family Help Hubs provide, at its most basic level, a safe, warm and welcoming facility for those visiting the establishment who require, or would benefit from, shelter before or after a visit.  However, it's main and overarching function will be to provide those visiting, with information of what services and supports are available to them in the community, to the prisoner upon release or indeed information on what being in custody entails for the prisoner.

We are committed to working with our partner agencies to maximise what we can achieve. That is why supporting and maintaining family links and promoting positive relationships while the family member is in prison is one of the SPS’ key priorities going forward.

Our Objectives:

  •     To contribute to the SPS and Scottish Government strategy of reducing re–offending rates by building positive family support.                  
  •     To offer a safe, pleasant environment for adults and children visiting relatives or friends, ensuring they are all treated with dignity and            respect.

  •     To provide information, support and advice which promotes a holistic approach to working with offenders and their families.


Family Help Hubs have been identified as an important means of maintaining strong positive relationships and will contribute to the SPS and Scottish Government's strategy of reducing re-offending rates.