Professor Jim McManus appointed new Chair of Prison Advice and Care Trust

Pact is the national Catholic charity providing support to people in prison and their children and families. Jim is the National Director of Health and Wellbeing at Public Health Wales and has previously held a number of senior posts in the health sector. He holds a range of academic and advisory roles reflecting his expertise in public health, psychology, influencing and strategy, at the highest levels. He is a Catholic and was, between 2002 and 2023, a healthcare reference group member for the Catholic Bishops Conference of England & Wales. He is a Fellow of the International Society of Science in the University of Glasgow and has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Hertfordshire’s School of Life Sciences since 2012. Jim’s arrival comes at a time when Pact is increasingly focusing on the healthcare of prisoners and what more can be done to ensure that families can play a greater role in the care of their loved-ones inside. The health of people in prison is at historically low levels – prisoners have a life expectancy 20 years younger than the general population. Half of prisoners have a mental health problem; rates of self-harm are near record levels and one in three prisoners has a serious drug addiction. In the last 12 months Pact has:

• Published its ‘Nobody’s Listening’ report, which set out the experiences of families caught up in the justice system. It concluded that involving families more proactively in prisoners’ healthcare would reduce deaths in custody, relieve pressure on the NHS and reduce reoffending.

• Ramped up delivery of its ‘Listen to Families’ pilot project with NHS London. The first of its kind, the pilot offers families the chance to shape how prison healthcare services are delivered and developed.

• Signed an innovative new partnership with Oxleas NHS Foundation to improve the experience of patients and families in the prison system. Professor Jim McManus said: “This is a great time to be joining Pact as the charity continues to grow and provide its crucial services to ever greater numbers of people.

It’s an honour to represent an organisation whose staff work so tirelessly to support prisoners and their families to make a fresh start. “The challenges facing the criminal justice system are well documented but Pact makes a difference to people’s lives every day. In particular, there is a major opportunity to improve prison healthcare by involving families and carers more proactively in the care of their loved-ones. “I’d like to pay tribute to Phil Taylor, my predecessor as Chairman. Over the last decade he has steered Pact through a period of significant change and growth. The charity would not be where it is today without his long-standing service and dedication.” Andy Keen-Downs, Pact CEO said: “We are all delighted to have Jim on board. His reputation, across the spheres both of public health and the Catholic church, speaks for itself. Jim is a person who takes his faith seriously. It is fantastic to know that his skills and experience, so generously offered, will support Pact to continue to thrive and grow in the years ahead.”