Prisons that enable inmates to keep in contact with their families will receive special recognition under a new scheme by Action for Prisoners' Families and the Prison Service.
The Family Friendly Prison Awards will reward prisons for introducing initiatives that lead to significant and sustainable improvements in family ties.
The awards come on the back of two government reports acknowledging both the importance of good family contact in reducing re-offending, and the lasting harm imprisonment does to the families of offenders.
Phil Wheatley, director general of the Prison Service, said: "All those concerned with prisons know how much families of prisoners are affected by their imprisonment. Action for Prisoners' Families plays a valuable role not only in raising the profile of these issues, but also in working constructively with the prison service to the great benefit of families.
"I hope these awards will encourage the development of other new projects."