Prisoners’ Week began in England and Wales in 1975. The Prisoners’ Week Committee, consisting of Prison Chaplains and other Christians involved in work with prisoners and their families, was formed to encourage prayer within churches and the wider Christian community for the needs of prisoners. They produced a prayer and information leaflet for use on the third Sunday in November, designated Prisoners’ Sunday, with the week observed until the following Saturday.
It had its beginnings as a Roman Catholic initiative started by Bishop Victor Guazzelli, but quickly gained ecumenical support and became an ecumenical observance, receiving the patronage of: The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of Westminster, the Archbishop of Wales and the Moderator of the Free Churches Group.
In 1993 Prisoners’ Week became a registered charity and in 1995, seeking to focus attention not only on the needs of prisoners but on all those involved and affected by prison (including prisoners families, victims of crime, prison staff, those working in other parts of criminal justice and many volunteers) the week became known as Prisons Week, and the committee known as the Prisons Week Committee.