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Clean Break Theatre Company was founded in 1979 by two serving prisoners. It produces drama which engages audiences in the issues faced by women who have been subject to the criminal justice system or who have had experience of the mental health system. Clean Break has a commitment to theatre and the arts and media which open up possibilities for women ex-offenders to develop personal, social, professional and creative and study skills. Creative and Supportive Trust (CAST) provides education and training, careers advice, welfare advice and support to women in prison and ex-offenders. Students at CAST can eat and socialise there as well as attending courses, counselling and advice sessions. Female Hibiscus provides advocacy advice and welfare services for foreign national women in UK prisons and also makes contact with the families left behind through its offices in Lagos, Nigeria and Kingston, Jamaica. At any one time Hibiscus is working with about 500 women whose dietary and clothing needs are often very different to those of English prisoners and who are isolated from friends and families both by distance and the expense of phone calls from the UK to home. Inside Out Trust (www.inside-out.org.uk) funds and supports activities which provide prisoners and other offenders and ex-offenders with knowledge and skills during sentence, either custodial or community-based, and afterwards, which are likely to contribute to their integration into the community and specifically lead to employment. National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (Nacro) (www.nacro.org.uk) is the largest NGO working with prisoners and runs various projects which routinely provide advice and information to prisoners. Nacro’s Women Prisoners’ Resource Centre was developed to provide resettlement help and advice to women in prison. Unfortunately it was closed in 2000 after 15 years of service due to lack of funding. A similar organisation, known as the Black Female Prisoner Scheme has also closed due to lack of funding. New Bridge (www.thenewbridge.org.uk) is an organisation which aims to create links between the offender and the community by means of Voluntary Associates who support and befriend people in prison, parenting courses for offenders, helping offenders to find jobs and training courses, and generally encouragingn the reintegration of ex-offenders into the community. New Bridge offers employment advice to women in three prisons: Drake Hall, East Sutton Park and Highpoint. Interviews are held with women who are approaching release, to determine their employment and training needs. Information is provided and appointments booked at the local job centre so that women can claim Job Seekers’ Allowance. Women in Special Hospitals (WISH) works with women with mental health needs, in their care and treatment while detained in secure setting and once released into the community. It ‘aims to promote social inclusion and gender sensitive forensic and community support services’. (WISH mission statement Annual Report 2002-2003) Women in Prison (www.womeninprison.org.uk) was founded in 1983 by ex-prisoners and is a campaigning organisation which visits women in prison and provides them with information. Over the years the organisation has also conducted small research projects and run advice services in prisons. Its major work, however, has always been with campaigning and keeping watch on developments within the women’s prison system. Women into Work aims to combat discrimination and inequality faced by women who have experienced disadvantage, particularly by having had contact with the Criminal Justice System. By identifying barriers to employment from a female perspective and piloting innovatory means of training, personal development and empowerment, the


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