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Helping convicts integrate into lawful society is not the most fashionable of causes, but that has not deterred the New Bridge Foundation. Set up in 1956 by the late Lord Longford and his associates, it seeks volunteers who will befriend prisoners and help them to acclimatise to life on release from jail. This relationship exists over two stages, with volunteers befriending inmates in prison, and then working with them once they are released to assist their transition to freedom.

Chris Thomas, New Bridge's chief executive, argues that with record numbers in prison the foundation's befriending service is more vital than ever, particularly in the weeks immediately after release. For convicts who have served long sentences, this support can be of particular importance, as they may not have any friends or family left on the outside. In 2007, 188 volunteers made 901 prison visits, and exchanged 6,342 letters with 461 prisoners in England and Wales. As of late 2008, volunteers were in contact with 470 prisoners, and 100 former inmates. Volunteers usually work with the same convict for five years or more.

New Bridge runs other services aimed at steering convicts towards law-abiding lives, such as "The Learning Shop", which was launched in 2004 at Low Newton women's prison, near Durham. This gives inmates a chance to learn basic computer skills that, it is hoped, will assist them in getting a job on release. Another New Bridge service is the Liverpool-based "Prison Liaison Project". This also started in 2004, and seeks to provide prisoners from Liverpool with accommodation and related support when returning to the city after release. Funding is provided by Liverpool City Council. In 2007, the scheme helped 126 prisoners from 17 different prisons.

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