A charity has used the information gathered from 5,500 calls to its helpline to inform the content of five new survival guides to support families of prisoners.
Action for Prisoners' Families launched its helpline a year ago, and has found that callers' main problems centred around getting to prisons, financial difficulties and lack of emotional support.
The Outsiders guides, which are free and funded by a Nationwide Fund grant, offer advice on issues such as what to tell children, keeping in touch with prisoners and coping with separation.
"The helpline has uncovered a stark picture of families in need who are suffering in silence," said Lucy Gampell, the charity's director. "Children and families are often judged guilty by association and left isolated and confused."