Prisons week

Prisons Week Service

On Sunday 15 October we will hold a special service at 10.30 am to mark Prisons Week.


Prisons Week encourages communities to pray for, and raise awareness of, the needs of all those connected with prisons; prisoners and their families, many of whom come from disadvantaged and debilitating backgrounds, together with victims of offenders, prison staff, contractors, chaplains, and volunteers who work in an intense and often difficult atmosphere. Prisons Week has been running for almost 50 years.

Prisons week

The service will include prayers for prisoners, victims, and staff. A number of serving prisoners from HMP Hollesley Bay, Suffolk’s open prison, will take part in and join the service. The Right Reverend Martin Seeley, Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, will lead the service. This year, the address will be given by the Anglican chaplain at HMP Highpoint, the Reverend Mark Osbourne. In the Cathedral Centre after the service, there will be an opportunity for engagement – with prisoners, prison staff and others – with current issues in prisons, and discussion and reflection. Refreshments will be provided.


The Reverend Canon Philip Banks, Canon Precentor at the Cathedral, says, “We mark Prisons Week here at St Edmundsbury Cathedral each year to ensure that those working in, serving and engaging with prisons are not forgotten. Prisons, and the whole criminal justice system, currently face huge challenges, including resource and funding. Prisons Week provides an opportunity to engage with some of these issues, raise public awareness of the justice system, to pray that our prisons can be safe, civilised and rehabilitative environments for all, and to pray for victims of crime and those who work with prisoners.”


This year, the Prisons Week initiative is to remember that the heavens declare the glory of God, and to look up. The below film has been released to accompany Prisons Week 2023.