People in prison can access our services in a range of ways, as we work to reduce suicide and self-harm in prisons.
Here’s how people in prison, and prison staff, can access Samaritans' services
Listeners are prisoners, who are specially selected and trained, who provide confidential emotional support to their peers who are struggling to cope.
All prisons are required to offer people in prison access to Samaritans’ helpline free of charge.
If people in prisoners prefer, they can write to us instead. We offer a confidential freepost service, so there is no need to buy a stamp. Freepost envelopes are usually available in communal areas of the prison.
Face to face support
If the prison doesn’t have a Listener scheme, volunteers from the local Samaritans branch may still visit the prison to offer face to face support for those struggling in prison.
Support for prison staff
Prison staff are also welcome to contact Samaritans. Our services are particularly important following a self-inflicted death in custody. At these sad times, we play a key role in supporting both staff and prisoners.
Samaritans works with Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service, Scottish Prison Service, Irish Prison Service and Northern Ireland Prison Service to deliver the Listener scheme across the UK and Ireland. Here's how:
Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS)
Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) manages public sector prisons and the contract for private prisons in England and Wales, and oversees probation delivery in England and Wales including through community rehabilitation companies.
Scottish Prison Service (SPS)
Scottish Prison Service (SPS) is part of the Scottish Government and was set up in 1993. Its purpose is to provide secure custody and reduce reoffending in the community. SPS has 13 publicly managed prisons and two privately managed prisons.
Irish Prison Service (IPS)
Irish Prison Service (IPS) is part of the Department of Justice and Equality. It provides for male offenders over 17, and female offenders, over 18 years old. Their mission is to provide safe and secure custody and to rehabilitate prisoners to provide safer communities.
Northern Ireland Prison Service (NIPS)
Northern Ireland Prison Service (NIPS) is part of the Department of Justice. It oversees the operation and delivery of services within the Northern Ireland prison system. Its aim is to improve public safety by rehabilitating prisoners and reducing reoffending.