Prisoners Abroad is a UK-registered charity which supports British citizens who are imprisoned overseas. It also works with ex-prisoners returning to the UK and family members and friends of those detained.
The organisation aims to provide for the basic welfare needs of Britons who are held in developing countries by providing a grant for food and other essentials. The charity also provides English-language reading material and operates a pen-pal scheme.
Prisoners Abroad was formed in 1978 by Craig Feehan, Joe Parham, Chris Cheal and Bob Nightingale. Initially it worked with Britons held mainly in Turkey, central Asia and north Africa. It now works with over 1700 people in prison each year, across 80 countries.
In UK terms, Prisoners Abroad is a small to medium-sized charity, with an annual turnover of £1.4 million.
The Craig Feehan Fund, which was founded after Craig Feehan's death in 1984, provides those imprisoned in particularly poor conditions with a monthly sum of money for essentials such as bedding, food, clothing, toiletries, vitamins, newspapers and correspondence. The fund provides help to those who are destitute and have no other source of income.
A vitamin fund is available to people imprisoned in countries where the nutrition is deemed inadequate for survival.
Medical grants are awarded on a case by case basis for treatment of medical issues ranging from blood pressure medication to eyeglasses to major surgeries. The funds also address diseases commonly found in foreign prisons, such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.
Prisoners Abroad is a non-judgmental organisation and provides assistance on the basis of need and regardless of innocence or guilt.
Support for families
Each year Prisoners Abroad provides assistance to more than 1,400 family members. This includes one-to-one support via a helpline, a private online network for family members, support group days throughout the United Kingdom and translation services. A travel fund provides one-off grants to low income family members to contribute toward the cost of travel to see a family member in prison.
Awards and patrons
In 2007 Prisoners Abroad was awarded the Longford Prize, awarded annually by the Longford Trust to "recognise the contribution of an individual, group or organisation working in the area of penal or social reform who/which has shown outstanding qualities of humanity, courage, persistence and originality".
- Charity Commission. Prisoners Abroad, registered charity no. 1093710.
- "Prisoners Abroad statistics". Prisoners Abroad. Archived from the original on 2007-05-20. Retrieved 2007-02-22.
- Craig Feehan Fund. Prisoners Abroad.
- "The Longford Trust". Longford Trust. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-12-03.
- "The Longford Prize". Longford Trust. Archived from the original on May 4, 2006. Retrieved 2007-12-03.