BEST is a voluntary organisation dedicated to visiting Foreign Nationals in HMP Wandsworth. It was founded in 1996 to support people held in detention centres or in prison who were seeking sanctuary in the UK and required befriending and support. We focus on Foreign Nationals because they are particularly vulnerable and often have to cope with serious difficulties without support from friends, relatives or anyone else to talk to. Foreign Nationals comprise about 30% of the prison population at HMPW, equivalent to just over 500 men.
We visit all Foreign Nationals in the prison who requests a BEST visit for as long as they want our visits to continue. We also have a small number of volunteers regularly working in the prison who see the men on the Wings and conduct weekly BEST surgeries in Legal Visits on Friday and on C Wing on Wednesday.
We liaise closely with other organisations working with foreign prisoners and detainees and, where suitable, refer cases to colleagues specialising in associated areas such as law, health care, housing etc., as required.