Friday, 9 December 2016

You cannot change an heroin addict - from an anonymous reader

A personal story of addiction and betrayal

My ex partner of 11 years is serving time in prison for crimes he committed to pay for his DOC. (drug of choice) 
He is a heroin addict and has been in and out of prison and secure units most of his life since the age of 14. 
Although we are not together anymore, I still write to him in prison. I have been through so much with him that I cannot completely cut him out of my life for good.
My friends think I'm silly and he is a rotten waste of space but he's a human being and a very poorly one. I spent 2 years with the 'real him' when at one time in his life he was clean. He did well and was an excellent partner and step father to my son. When he relapsed he became 'that other person' again and that other person was the pits of a partner and sometimes disappeared for days, even weeks on end. The love of his life was heroin and me and my son was his last priority. Heroin beat us to it.
In 2007 he served a long stretch in prison and I stood by him. Basically for a word I served a prison sentence alongside him because I put my life on hold to support him. 
When he was released from prison, he went straight back to Heroin. 
In 2013, he went for a routine blood test and found out he had Hep C. (hepititus C) 
Straight away I went for a blood test and found out he had passed it on to me. I hadn't slept with anyone else so the virus was passed on through him. 
He admitted to me that he had shared needles and that he had slept with other (women) heroin users. He cried until his eyes were sore and begged me to forgive him. 
I never slept with him again although we still lived together of a fashion. 
I was a faithful partner to him and supported him wishing me and my son were enough for him to stop the drugs, but we weren't. It took a lot of soul searching to realise that you cannot change someone with an addiciton. That part is entirely up to them and with a drug such as heroin, it's always one step forward and three steps back. 
I have always worked very hard for a living and maintained a nice home. Our home was a secure haven for anyone wanting a chance to rebuild their life and no matter how hard I tried, there was no way on this earth I or my son were capable of changing his lifestyle. He is an heroin addict and heroin addicts are well known for reoffending, right? How can hardworking families with a secure household have an impact on reducing reoffending when a person is a drug addict? We are simply verging on the impossible. 
Thank you Prison Widow for giving people like me the chance to get our stories out there in the public domain. God bless you. 

Recently freed inmates deliberately getting sent back to prison to sell drugs

Former inmates are deliberately getting sent back to prison to cash in on lucrative profits on offer for selling drugs previously known as "legal highs", according to a new report. Prices for the substances can jump 33-fold once they cross into jails - providing prisoners with an incentive to go back behind bars to make money, researchers claimed. A gram of synthetic cannabinoids, which mimic the effects of cannabis, can cost £3 on the outside but can fetch up to £100 when sold in prisons, the study said.It claimed to have uncovered strong evidence that the licence recall system - under which offenders can be brought back to custody - was "routinely and systematically" abused to bring the drugs into prisons.The paper, based on research conducted in an adult male prison in England, suggested that recently freed inmates committed minor infractions, such as missing probation meetings, in order to return to jail.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

High in HMP - From Linda

You can agree or disagree with me but I have a son in HMP and the prisons are too mamby pamby!
My son is inside because he is a drug addict. He committed crimes to pay for drugs. When he was arrested and remanded, I was glad. In fact I was over the moon because at least he would regain his health. I was wrong because he is on the spice behind his cell door and I am livid!
If anything happens to my son then there will be a price to pay. How, why and what the blinking hell is going on when my son is getting high in HMP? The judge may as well not have bothered sending him down! When he is getting high in prison what remorse is he showing to his victims? None! And he is showing sod all respect for his family who have been supporting him to stop this drug taking madness. 
If you have a loved one who is drug taking then you will understand. I won't be called a callous cold hearted Mother because I was glad my son went to prison. He deserves to be there because otherwise I'd have been arranging his funeral. Better locked up than dead and that is the harsh reality. 
I do not blame the prison officers and staff working in prisons, I blame the Government for mamby pamby laws and regimes that do not work. 
Yes I know there is bullying in prisons and the bullying is down to drugs. Take out the drugs. My son told me that and prisoners families are getting the brunt of it because WE are the ones paying for it because our loved ones are asking for money lying about why they need the money! 
The system is a joke! 
Can I thank you for this fab platform you provide so prisoners families can let off steam and read other stories that reassure us that we are not going through this alone. It's fantastic and I am glad I found you. 

Prison Reform Trust report claims overcrowded jails 'more likely' to fail

Prison Reform Trust report claims overcrowded jails 'more likely' to fail The most overcrowded prisons in England and Wales are twice as likely to be rated as failing, a new report claims. According to the Prisons Reform Trust, nearly two thirds of prisons are overfull, with jails holding more than 10,000 inmates than they were built to. Of the 30 most crowded, 15 are rated as "of serious concern" or "of concern" - the two lowest performance ratings. The proportion is almost twice as high as the rest of the estate, with 31 of the 117 prisons being similarly rated. Prison overcrowding
85,000 prison population in England and Wales 
10,442 more people incarcerated than prison estate capable of housing
77 of 117 prisons are overcrowded 
20,000 people sharing a cell designed for fewer occupants Prison Reform Trust

The report, compiled from analysis of Ministry of Justice (MoJ) data, found the three most overcrowded prisons - Leeds, Swansea and Wandsworth - rated as "of concern".Five of the six jails whose performance is described as being "of serious concern" - Doncaster, Bristol, Isis, Hewell, and Wormwood Scrubs - are overcrowded.Only one of the eight prisons rated as having "exceptional performance" - Whatton - is overcrowded.

Armley jail in Leeds is 'most overcrowded prison in the country'

HMP Leeds is the most overcrowded prison in England and Wales, according to a new report. Analysis of Ministry of Justice data by the Prison Reform Trust (PRT) has found that the facility in Armley is designed to accommodate 669 men but, as of October, held 1,145. Leeds was rated as "of concern" - the lowest rating - in the Ministry of Justice's annual performance report for 2015/16. The PRT found that five of the six jails whose performance is also described as "of concern" are overcrowded. Campaigners have warned that 20,000 inmates are sharing cells designed for fewer occupants after a sharp jump in the jail population over the last 20 years.

I'm tired of the prison life - From Anonymous

Dear Prison Widow.
I am a born worrier and always put others before myself.
Lately though I have questioned wether this prison life is really worth it. My son is in prison for the 3rd time. He is 33 years old and he is a drug addict. I love him but he has put me through the mill and like other readers my health and state of mind has suffered because of his actions.
I have always supported my son when he has been in prison but this time around I have visiting less and less because the writing letters, having to be home at a certain time to take his phone calls and shopping for clothes and sending money and stamps is tiring. I am 64 years old and I am worn out trying to help and support him. He has lost his lovely partner and 2 beautiful children because of his drug addiction and I feel embarrassed to be his mum. Thankfully his ex and my grandchildren visit me a lot and his antics haven't ruined our family relationship.
I am upset and tearful writng this because I cannot understand why he would chose drugs over his family. It is beyond me.

Taking drugs in prison - From KJ

Hi, as much as I hate to say this, if you give an addict money for drugs on the out and they request money for drugs whilst in prison (indirectly of course) then yes you are enabling. My partner used to ring me saying he needed phone credit, extra bits from the canteen and blah blah blah. 
I stopped sending him money but he found other ways and when he was released from prison he was back on the drugs with a few hours. I know some people might disagree with me but I stopped visiting and removed all contact with him when inevitably he ended up in prison again because what is the point? I am all for supporting a person if they are determined to detox and battle their addiction but I'm no push-over and the lies he came out with were corkers! I remember getting a phone call from some drug dealer in prison demanding money and I basically told him to **** off and that I was having nothing to do with my partner. We split up after that and he's now seeing another drug addict so hey, at least they've both something in common and get romantically high with each other. Good luck to them. It's not a life I want and I gave him chance after chance. I did my bit and I cannot control the way he chooses to live his life. 

Monday, 5 December 2016

Am I enabling my son in prison? From YD

Hello Prison Widow.
In many many ways I agree with you about prison visiting and the drug addiction problems. 
My son is a drug addict and he is in prison. This is his 2nd prison sentence and I am visiting all over again. 
I thought that I'd done with it and that his 1st sentence would be the last. 
Maybe I went about it all the wrong way because he wanted for nothing when he was in prison the 1st time around because I rallied around and made sure he had everything he needed. I'm his Mum and that's what Mum's do but was I enabling him rather than helping him? If he asked for money I sent it; if he needed clothing and footwear I bought it and he always had phone credit to ring me every single night. But when he was released from prison; he was still addicted to drugs and we had a little family party when he came home in which he disappeared for 90 minutes and came back high. I knew because I was used to the symptoms and my heart sank. I didn't throw him on the streets but the cycle began again and he started pinching and borrowing money left right and centre. A long story short; I ended up being very ill and ended up on anxiety medication. 
He left and went living with other drug addicts who eventually got busted as they were caught dealing. 
He was sent to prison and I feel like I can't take anymore. He's phoning for money all the time and expects me to rally around like the first time.
When will this stop because it is killing me and tearing me apart. 

Heroin causes Alzheimer-like brain damage

By Deborah Condon Researchers have found that young heroin users suffer a level of brain damage similar to that seen in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. The research team from the University of Edinburgh studied the autopsied brains of 34 drug users with a history of opiate abuse - mainly heroin and methadone. Most had died of a drug overdose, but all were HIV negative and had no history of head injuries.They also looked at the autopsied brains of 16 people who had no history of drug abuse or neurological impairment.The average age in both groups was 26 and drug abusers as young as 17 were included.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Where do we draw the line - by Prison Widow Global

So we've had an interesting collection of emails this week! Some people agreed with sanctioning prison visits if drugs were an issue and some strongly disagreed saying that family contact was paramount. So where do we draw the line? Or is there any line to draw? 
Children who are raised around drugs here on the outside can suffer from experiences that will leave them mentally and emotionally scarred. We've already covered topics on how children are affected by drug/Police house raids. Some of the stories are heartbreaking.
So when their Mum or Dad faces a custodial sentence off the back of those raids - is it acceptable to still visit a parent in prison who continues to use substances whilst serving their prison sentence? It's a tricky one isn't it? My take on it would be that I wouldn't be putting my children through anymore trauma and let's have it right; if a person uses drugs in prison, it is highly likely that they are going to quit on their release. In a nutshell; no, families cannot reduce reoffending if their loved one is an addict and the addict is not ready to kick their habit. 
Would there be an impact on someone in prison having their visits sanctioned? Yes; they would probably use more drugs to cope with the fact that they can't see their families; but hold on a second - they are using drugs anyway even after family visits! So again my question is; Where do we draw the line? 

Shocking video shows inmates challenging each other to drug-taking competitions in prison

Shocking videos have shown lags challenging each other in drug -taking contests involving deadly high Spice. Inmates stare into space with glazed eyes as cackling pals shout: “He’s dead.” And in one clip, a prisoner inhales a makeshift bong containing synthetic cannabis Spice in a bathroom – and is told not to exhale. Thirty seconds later, he is unable to move. In what seems to be a cruel initiation ceremony, the convict is told: “Swallow it, swallow it!” He starts convulsing as another inmate props him up to stop him hitting the floor, and an ­onlooker yells: “He’s growling!”

                                              CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

And meanwhile in Parliament..........

By Jon Craig, Chief Political Correspondent An outspoken Labour MP has claimed he has received complaints from House of Commons staff about being sexually assaulted by Members of Parliament. John Mann told a committee of MPs he was aware of alleged sexual assaults by MPs, but there was nowhere to go for people making allegations in confidence. He said there was a need for confidential whistleblowing for MPs' staff and potentially MPs who claim they have been subjected to inappropriate sexual misconduct in Parliament.

Dear Prison Widow

Dear Prison Widow. Please give me some advice because I don't know where to turn.
My partner of 3 years has left me for another drug addict and all I have done is try to help him to come off the drugs. He promised me he would but he has cheated on me and now he is with another heroin addict.
Prison Widow Response: Well he's left you for another 'heroin addict' because you have tried to 'help him' and you cannot help an heroin addict. He is with 'his own kind' because she won't be asking him to come off the drugs - instead she will be as conniving as him! They are running partners who caress each others track marks, and if one of them ends up in prison - they'll just move on to the next available junkie/junkie-ess.
It sounds awful doesn't it? But that is pretty much the top and bottom of addiction. Sick attracts sick and the only relationship they have is with their drug of choice, in which case is heroin.
I'm sorry you are hurting but I am not sorry that he has left you because sweetheart, unless your ex partner is ready to quit, you are far far better off without him. If you have read the many stories on my blog sent in by families, you will see how destructive this drug is and the main thing is to keep yourself (and your children if you have any) safe. Beware if he runs out of money because he will jump through hoops to get on your best side again. Don't buy it - it's 100 percent faulty! Wish them both good luck - they are gonna need it.

When to Stop Trying to Save an Addict - by M.Lujan

If you have a loved one suffering from drug or alcohol addiction, you’ve likely experienced one or more of the following heartbreaking scenarios:Staying up late worrying about whether or not they’ll get home safely tonightWaiting anxiously in the hospital waiting room for the doctor to break the good news that they’re going to pull through an overdoseHearing the guilt-inducing demands for more money or variations of the “if you love me, you’ll let me be” are countless other painful day-to-day experiences one encounters when living with or loving a drug addict. Most of the time, you’re scared for them, you want to help them and you want them to change their ways but you don’t know how to get them to do so. And because you love them, you don’t want to increase the already-growing distance between the two of you—so you end up covering their tracks. Time and time again. You give them the five more dollars that they’re begging for; you clean up the vomit in the bathroom from the night before; you tuck them into bed to sleep off an episode; you sign them out of the hospital early because they’re miserable and begging you to let them out. When does it ever stop? The Conundrum First of all, it is important to know that nobody is blaming you. Addiction is complicated and painful and we often believe that we can love those around us into sobriety. However, sadly, that is never the case. As difficult as it is to hear, behaviors like giving your friend that measly five dollars or signing your son out of the hospital for early release are actually enabling your loved one to continue down his or her self-destructive path. The addicted part of their brain remembers that they can always get money from Mom with guilt-tripping tactics or that they can always rely on their best friend to pick them up no matter what hour of the night. As part of the disease, an addict will go to any means to get what they crave—even at the emotional expense of those they love. Although they often will exhibit guilt and sorrow for their behaviors the next morning, once the cravings kick in, they’ll be doing everything all over again. Addiction is a vicious cycle and drugs will continue to fuel that one-track thinking pattern of doing whatever is necessary to get that next high. It may be one of the toughest things you’ll ever have to do, but friends and families of addicts need to let go of the notion that they can save their loved one in order for there to be any chance at real change. By doing so, you can begin to explore your personal limits and define your boundaries. Time to Pull Away As much as it hurts, sometimes pulling away from the addict’s vicious cycle may call for ultimatums. This can include ending a romantic relationship, cutting off the addict financially, forcing him or her to move out of the house, or taking away their child custody rights, just to name a few. By simply telling the individual to “stop doing drugs” or that “things need to change soon,” you’re just giving the addict either too broad an obstacle to conquer or too much wiggle room in which they can find ways to manipulate the situation (which they’re very good at doing). Therefore, the key is to be specific and unclenching with your boundaries. By implementing exact, time-sensitive consequences for their repeated bad behavior, the addict will then be forced to make a choice. It is also important to keep in made that this choice is for your loved one to make alone and, as frustrating as it to watch, they may not want to choose recovery—even with all your inflicted consequences. He or she may need more time for the reality of the consequences to sink in before they take any action towards sobriety and, ultimately, it is only he or she who can decide to get out of the dark pit that has swallowed him or her up. Finally, in the midst of caring for your loved one, remember that you are also responsible for taking care of yourself. You can’t allow your loved one to fuel their addiction at the expense of depriving you of all your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Your health is of equal importance and by doing what is best for you—even if that includes walking away from the toxic situation—you are coincidentally also doing the best thing you can do for your addicted loved one.

Drugs in Prison? No visits - from AP

My ex- partner is in prison for an offence involving drugs and he uses drugs in prison.
Why should I visit and play jolly olde happy families with his kids when he has no intention of addressing his problem? How can the parole board for example assess that he is bloody well remorseful towards his victims when he is using drugs in prison? His victims were robbed for drug money by the way. There is no victim empathy is there because basically he is laughing at everyone full on in the face.
If you test positive for drugs in prison, your visits should be sanctioned. It's disgusting that prisoners can easily get their hands on drugs in prison. Something has to give because some prisoners are even being released addicted to drugs when they never even took them before they were sent to prison.
I'm not an awkward person and would take the kids to see him but if he's smacked up, spiced up or pilled up, why the hell should I? You can rebuild relationships with druggies, they live in their own little unrealistic world with unrealistic friends who aren't really friends but just fellow junkies who have alternative benefit paydays. My ex forgot his son's birthday once but he never forgot when Alan, Craig or David's benefit pay day was! My God, addiction is so low!

HMP Hindley report slams 'unjustifiable' prison regime

A prison where inmates spent an "unjustifiable" amount of time in cells had one of the worst daily routines inspectors said they had ever seen. Inmates at Greater Manchester's HMP Hindley were regularly locked in cells for more than 24 hours, leaving them unable to attend work or education. Inspectors said almost every aspect of prisoners' life was adversely affected by the regime at the jail near Wigan. "Fundamental change" was needed, Chief Inspector of Prisons Peter Clarke said. During the visit to the category C prison in July, inspectors found "palpable" frustration among the prisoners who were often in their cells all day. Inspectors also found: a high number of assaults and fights, which remained high despite the severely restricted regime easy access to drugs with 49% of prisoners saying they could obtain illegal drugs and 16% developing a drug problem since entering the prison poor prisoner-staff relationships with inadequate support for inmates at risk of self-harm dirty residential wings with filthy landings prisoners struggling to get showers, clean clothing, bedding and cleaning materials. Mr Clarke said: "To make progress, there needs to be a very clear recognition of what is good at Hindley, and also where there needs to be fundamental change."Many examples of good practice could be found in the chaplaincy, education and health care," he said. But he added: "The same could not be said for residential areas."There needs to be an honest appraisal of the culture that predominates among some staff in these areas. The governor needs to be supported by his senior team in the delivery of clear, proactive and intrusive leadership."

Monday, 28 November 2016

Reducing reoffending is impossible - From Anon

Hello Prison Widow and blog readers.
I am struggling a lot with my thoughts and feelings concerning my partner of 11 years.
He is an addict and he is in prison because of it.
It's his second prison sentence and I have given him chance after chance. I visited him all the time when he was in prison the first time around but things haven't changed for the better. He is still using drugs and he is still making poor choices. I send him money which is supposed to be for telephone credit but I know in my heart it is being used for drugs.
I love him but when does enough become enough? He is released next year and he will still be a drug addict no matter how I dress it up and think life is wonderful with him. The bare truth is that I will be back to square one and day by day this whole prison thing is becoming exhausting.
If he is serious about coming off drugs then why is he lying saying he isn't using drugs in prison when quite clearly he is? His brother told me by the way because I have found out he has been asking him and his mum for money all the time. How can I support him to be a better person when he doesn't want to be a better person? How can I contribute to making him not reoffend again when he has a drug problem that I have no control whatsoever over? It is impossible.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

UK prisons exposed: Inmates 'so stoned they're collapsing and nearly dying'

CRIMINALS in the UK are "dying", smuggling in drugs "like crazy" and being "abused by staff" in prisons which have been "powder kegs waiting to explode for a while", according to reformed convicts. Jimmy Harkin, 57, spent time in three jails for leaving a ticking device outside the benefits office which axed his payments. The grandad-of-two, who was released from jail in June last year, told Daily Star Online the three prisons were "powder kegs waiting to explode" with lags "regularly tripping" and staff "didn't believe" an inmate had collapsed. And the former cleaner was not surprised when criminals ran riot at HMP Bedford and an attempted murderer and man facing a burglary charge escaped from HMP Pentonville earlier this month. Mr Harkin served time at the high-security Category A Strangeways in Manchester, the Category B HMP Doncaster, South Yorks., and, after sentencing, he was caged at HMP Risley, Cheshire. Despite being a Category C jail, Mr Harkin branded HMP Risley "the worst". Speaking to the Daily Star Online, the dad, of Middleton, Greater Manchester, said: "Dale Cregan, the guy who killed two police officers with hand grenades was in HMP Risley when I was there. There were a lot of paedophiles as well. "There was a lot of weed going around and Spice, the legal high. It was crazy. You had people regularly tripping, freaking out on drugs. Prisoners were often stoned. To be quite honest with you, I think prisons have been like a powder keg waiting to explode for a while. "I don’t know the drugs were smuggled in." The widower witnessed an inmate collapse in jail because he was stoned and said it goes on "more often than people think". The man later "died" on the way to hospital. But staff, Mr Harkin claimed, ignored concerns the criminal was ill. He continued: "It was disturbing to be quite honest because I had never seen anything like that. There was a few of us and it shocked us. "I don’t know much he took, but it must have been a lot of drugs. "I was on the landing when it happened. I was one of the prisoners who told staff it had happened. They said ‘there’s nothing wrong with him’ but I told them there was foam coming out of his mouth and it’s serious. "The person who collapsed was a bit of a prankster, so staff thought he was joking. "He ‘died’ in the ambulance on the way to hospital. They managed to revive him and bring him back. "He came back from hospital and got to the prison and his first words to us was ‘has anybody got any stuff for me’. It was a bit stupid really." Mr Harkin, who is originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, said staff in at HMP Manchester were "verbally abusive". He added: "When I was at Strangeways in Manchester, I worked at the workshop there. We got left in a cage in the p****** rain while the kiddy fiddlers and that got let out first, which I think is wrong. "There was a cage outside the workshops, outside. You waited there before you got let to go back to your wings. They left us out in the rain and the snow and all sorts of c***. "Considering we worked in the workshops, you’d think we’d get priority. It wasn’t very nice. "The paedophiles got treated better than us. We should have got priority." Darryl Birch, 41, did time in HMP Featherstone in Staffordshire, for drug offences. He told Daily Star Online: "The conditions of the prison are disgusting. "You get all sorts of drugs inside, everything. I think all the people get stoned. It is so easy to get cannabis. "The staff shortages are to blame. They are mad. I don't see it changing though. "You get fights, a lot of the time with weapons. This is not just occasionally, I mean quite often. It's usually gang-related. "There are people I met inside who have re-offended again and again. They prefer it inside. A lot of offenders get released but just go straight back inside. That can't be right. "I wasn't surprised to hear of all these riots and people escaping. It has been coming really." A Prison Service spokesperson said: “We have announced a major shake-up of the prison system with 2,500 extra prisons officers and new security measures to tackle drones, phones and drugs and help make prisons places of safety and reform. “The Justice Secretary has always been clear that it will take time to address these long-standing problems and we must grip the real challenges and risks that we face in the shorter term. “That is why we have taken action and set up a new prisons task force to manage down potential flashpoints of unrest in prisons, as well as a new £3m national intelligence hub to target gang crime behind bars.” It comes as Theresa May announced the UK Government is set to invest a whopping £2billion into scientific and technological research over the next four years to "help keep the UK's prisons safe". Public Health England had highlighted the growing problem of legal highs in jails and said they were too widely available inside. AlphaBiolabs, The Jeremy Kyle Show's lab for DNA testing, applauded Mrs May's move.The firm's director David Thomas said the investment will allow UK prisons to introduce more thorough and regular drug testing, keeping both lags and officers safer.Daily Star contacted Ministry of Justice for comment.

Prisoners using drugs should not be allowed family contact - from Bev

Hi. If I may I would like to contribute to your blog. 
I would like to offer my opinion on visiting prisoners in particular those with substance misuse issues and serving prisoners who are still actively using substances whilst in prison. 
My partner is currently serving a 5 year prison sentence. (drugs related)
I found out he is using drugs in prison therefore I have temporarily cut ties and have no intention of maintaining them until he stops. 
I disagree with charities and the powers that be that families should maintain contact if the situation is like mine.
The consequences of prisoners using drugs in prison should be zero contact with family and friends. If I decide to support my partner on release from prison - I do not want to be supporting a junkie again because his drug addiction is why he is in prison in the first place. 
Society frowns upon children being brought up around drugs and rightly so, so you tell me why I should play happy families on prison visits when the prisoner is high because he is still using the shit whilst locked up? Personally the charities and organisations should be looking in to this because whilst the likes of the Prison Service are promoting family friendly visits, my partner as well as hundreds of others are under the influence of drugs and are absolutely not addressing their addiction in prison. It makes a whole mockery out of maintaining contact with a loved one. 

Children treated like criminals - From TK

Hi to all. Two years ago my house was raided and my two children age 5 and 8 were asleep in their beds. 
I had a feeling my husband was up to no good but there wasn't any significant proof he was dealing drugs. If he was (and it turned out he was) I didn't see any money or 'spare cash' being spent. It all came to light after he was arrested and taken in to custody. My eldest child (8) has been majorly affected by the raid and has been seeing a child counsilor. I also don't visit my husband in prison and waiting on a divorce coming through. If he wants to do drugs then he can but my life and my children's lives won't be a part of it. He is better off with his own kind and it is that simple. 
I supported him through a prison sentence in 2009 and he did well abstaining from drugs or so I thought. It also came to light that he had lied throughout our marraige and drugs was his first priority. He was good at being a liar and hiding the fact he was still involved in that circle. 
I can't forgive him bringing the Police to my door and causing great upset to my children. 
I would like to see also the Police taking more of a compassionate approach towards children caught up in a parents poor choice of living. My children didn't ask for this and I got no apology from the Police. They were arrogant and uncaring. They have a job to do I know but my chldren aren't criminals and should not have been treated like one! 
As for the husband, he made his bed and I hope he lies comfortably in it! 

Friday, 25 November 2016

My daughter, the prostitute - From Anon

Dear Prison Widow Global.
I am writing to you in the hope you publish my story on your blog site. I would also like to remain anonymous. 
My daughter is a heroin addict. She started using drugs when she met her boyfriend who was a heroin addict. I quote 'was' because he passed away in 2014 of a heroin overdose.
Six months ago I had a stroke brought on by the stress of my daughters drug addiction. I was enabling her until a therapist advised me to stop and to let her hit her rock bottom.
I followed his advice and the outcome of it is she is selling her body as a prostitute in order to feed her drug addiction. She is just 25 years old and my heart is breaking. 
Hate is a strong word but I can honestly say that I hate drug dealers with a passion and I do not think that the country is tackling the problem well. Drug dealers should be sentenced to life imprisonment. They are making a lot of money killing people. They are completely on par with Harold Shipman. If my words come across as a little harsh, then try and understand it from a fathers point of view whose daughter is having sex with dirty old men to hand her money over to drug dealers who could not give a damn and will gladly take it to fund their illegal lifestyles. If you think life imprisonment is a little steep then walk in my shoes for a day. 
Last week, I learned that my daughter had overdosed and was brought back round by someone in the drugs den she was in. She nearly died but she was back on the street corner the same night having sex with men so she could buy more drugs. 
I know I am 1 phone call away from being notified that my daughter has either overdosed and died or she has been savagely beaten up by a punter. My stomach is in knots all day everyday. My mental health is on a decline because I am constantly stressed and anxious.
I know I cannot help my daughter because a drug addict has to help themselves. It is a very sad state of affairs and a situation I would not wish on any parent. 

My name is Jon and I'm an addict

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My son has nightmares after police raid - From Anon Mum

My partner was arrested in August and prior to his arrest our house was raided by the Police in the early hours. I was not aware that my partner was a wanted man although I knew he had been staying with friends for a few days because we hadn't been getting along. The raid was horrendous and I was petrified. The impact this has had on our young one has been awful. He has been wetting the bed, having nightmares and has become very withdrawn. He is petrified every time he sees a police officer and cowers when he sees a police van or car. I wanted my baby to grow up feeling confident that he could approach the police if any time in his life he ran in to danger. I know that they have to do their job but they literally turned my house upside down and my baby was screaming and wetting himself. 
My partner (now ex ) is now on remand in prison and the consequences of his actions has put our baby in to crisis. Before this he was a happy little one and was outgoing. I cannot forgive his dad for what he has put us through and there will be no prison visiting from me or his son for the foreseeable future. 
I keep googling to find others that have been in my situation and how they coped with the trauma. I am finding it incredibly hard to cope but my main worry is my son. I do not want him to grow up being scared of the police. 

How to Stop Blaming Yourself for Your Loved One's Addiction - By M.Lujan

It’s difficult to watch our loved ones spiral into their addiction. Sometimes, it can become so painful that we start to question if we’re responsible for what has happened to them. However, friends and family members of addicts can stop placing the blame on themselves by utilizing something called "The 3 C's Rule." The three C’s stand for “I didn’t Cause it,” “I can’t Cure it,” and “I can’t Control it." To help you get rid of guilt and guard your mental health, here’s an in-depth explanation of the three C’s.
 1. “I didn’t Cause it.” Generally, this is an important mantra when it comes to healthy relationships. The rule of three C’s operates from the belief that everyone is responsible for their own actions and behaviors, including the addict and those who love them. When talking to someone who is in the throes of addiction, they may resort to blaming statements such as, “you drove me to use,” “you made me do this,” or “because of you, now I can’t stop.” These kinds of hurtful statements are often used as a manipulation tactic to guilt the loved one into handing them more money or giving them one more chance. In short, they want to be enabled. Often, these statements also indicate that the addict is not ready to identify themselves as the true source of the problem and is instead looking for a scapegoat. Don’t fall victim to these statements. It can be easy to think that when someone treats us poorly, there must be a justified reason for it. However, “I didn’t cause it” forces us to recognize that we are not responsible for another person’s behavior, only our own.
2. “I can’t Cure it.” As we desperately scramble for any sort of solution to our loved one’s disease, it is important to remember that there is no one-trick fix for all cases of addiction or mental illness. Different people respond differently to various types of treatment and require different lengths of time to get well. Additionally, this mantra reminds us that there is no hard and fast cure for addiction. The truth is, there will never be a day where an addict wakes up and will no longer be an alcoholic, and that will be the individual’s life long journey; hopefully in recovery. While there are resources available to help improve their lives, the temptation will always be there and holding out for an end-all be-all cure will only result in disappointment and failed expectations.
3. “I can’t Control it.” “I can’t cure it” reminds us that we alone cannot change anyone until they themselves are ready to change. Those that suffer from addiction or mental illness are often resistant to change and avoid treatment out of fear. As much as loved ones are tempted to force those suffering into treatment, rehabilitation programs find that treatment is more successful when those suffering are ready and willing to contribute to their healing. In this way, this mantra relieves the loved ones of their perceived burden of having to “fix them.” Often times it is the addict that becomes the focus of recovery, but the lives of family members also go through a traumatic change. Remember that there are support group that exist for your emotional recovery as well. After all, it is important to keep your emotional and mental well-being just as much of a priority as the addict’s in recovery.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

My parents were junkies - from 'Jane'

Dear Prison Widow. Please don't disclose my real name.
I hate drug addicts! My dad was a junkie and so was my mum. My nana raised me and I love her with all my heart.
My dad and mum are both dead. They died of drug overdoses, how romantic!
I was brought up around junkies until I was 9 years old when social services put me in to the care of my nana. I dont remember much but I remember scum bags coming to our house smoking with plastic bottles which now I know was crack. When my dad went to jail my mum sold her body to buy drugs. 
I had counselling when they both died and was told that they were ill and that addiction is an illness. Well they chose their illness and I do not buy that drug addicts are ill because they are ill. They chose a crack pipe and choices are there to either say yes or no. I have a very low opinion on junkies and if you think that is embittered then I would say yes, what do you expect? 
No child should be raised around junkie parents and if people still use drugs whilst they are in prison then they do not deserve to have their kids visiting them especially if they have been sent to prison because of drugs. 
I found out years down the line that my mum used to take drugs in to prison for my dad and that is the pits. 
When I see drug addicts in the street they make my skin crawl and I can't bear to even look at them. My best friend died of a brain tumor and fought for her life yet my parents mutilated themselves with crack, heroin and anything they could get a hit off.
I remember seeing syringes in the bathroom and undesirable people using the toilet who stunk like they had never washed for months. 
I am still seeing a counsillor on and off and struggling hard to forgive my parents. 
Thank you so much for raising awareness on this subject because there are thousands of kids right now living around drugs. It is no life and I was so lucky to have a nana who raised me with common sense and respect. Lots of love 'Jane'

Released from prison still a junkie - from a recovering addict

Hey guys, hi to you all. I am an ex prisoner and drug addict in recovery. I am 2 years clean. 
Every waking day is a battle. I used heroin and crack for 8 years and I am lucky to still be alive. 
I would like to cover what Prison Widow said in her latest post which is something I definitely agree with. 
I used drugs in prison and I manipulated family members to send me money. I remember the Judge saying to me that he hoped prison would help me to address my drug problem. In fact I was released from prison still a drug addict. Shamefully I showed no remorse for why I was in prison because I used heroin whilst in there and heroin suppresses feelings. Only on occasions did I think about my victims. My main worry was to get my hands on money and I wrote to a woman and promised her the earth, even though I had a partner and two children on the out. I wanted drugs therefore I played the game and hurt a lot of people. 
My partner eventually left me and would only allow me access to see my children when I was clean. I went in to rehab because something had to give. 
Rehab was much better than prison. It was tough and I cried like a baby because remorse punched me head on in the face. I became a human being again whereas in prison, I was still a good for nothing druggie. 
In rehab I couldn't see my family for weeks on end and it did not affect any of us. My family understood because they knew this was the real deal and I was getting the help I wanted. 
I 100% agree that families cannot help to reduce reoffending especially when their loved one is a drug addict. The only person who can cure an addiction is the addict. 

I am tired of it all - from a prisoners partner

I am a prisoners partner and I have to agree with some of what Prison Widow says. My partner is serving his third prison sentence and I am left at home bringing up our baby single handed. I am tired and fed up of his criminal antics and this will be another Xmas without him. I love him but I am asking myself if he loved me and his baby as much as he says he does, why is he doing this to us? I am really tired of it all. 

Is prison visiting a lifestyle? By Prison Widow

I've trudged backwards and forwards to numerous prisons in the north-west in my time and I have spoken to many prisoners families in the same queue as me. 
One lady I spoke to visited two sons in separate prison's. She referred to the screws as bastards and her attitude towards them was abysmal. With her, she had a small child whom she told various times to shut the f*** up. The child was crying, probably scared, tired and bored, and no reassurance came from that woman's mouth. 
I remember her saying to me that her son's were always in prison. 
So, I shouldn't judge right? But why are her son's 'always' in and out of prison? The question is why? Quite obviously the system doesn't faze them and hey, their loyal Mum stands by their side no matter what, so prison is just an occupation. It's a lifestyle. 
I was asked only a few days ago whether I agreed with promoting 'maintaining family contact when a loved one is in prison'. My answer was, yes and no. 
Yes because some of it does work and no because quite frankly a lot of it doesn't. Drug addicts in particular are repeat offenders. Family members cannot control someone who is actively using drugs and the buck ends there. 
Decent hard working law abiding families I have met have been broken because they cannot help their son or daughter battling addiction and no matter how many times they visit them in prison, those families will not play a part in reducing reoffending. If anything, they provide a warm home and enable their loved ones. Let's get one thing straight here, prison's aren't rehabilitation centres. The courts that sentences individuals and bark that person A will get 'the help' to address their addiction whilst serving a custodial sentence are way off track. Prison's cannot help people to address their drug issues because prison's cannot get on top of the drugs that are coming through its doors. 
Is prison and prison visiting a lifestyle for some? Course it is. Some don't know any different and I bet you a pound to a penny any prison officer would agree with me. Prisoners are put through education, great, wonderful, but the system is still releasing prisoners back to family homes that are non-educated. Criminal activity is the norm for some families and if that is the way they wish to proceed with their lifes then who am I to judge. My point is, and I am sick of hearing it, is, a large majority of families cannot help to reduce reoffending and they are simply being used as scapegoats because the system is on it's arse. 

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Shame on the Prison Service - by a 'Brother'

I should not laugh but.... the prison's cannot get a grip of the illegal/legal substances that are flooding their wings yet prisoners families are encouraged to visit? 
I think the appropriate words to use are... Prisoners families are being set up!
Jails are heaving with drugs and mobile phones, loved ones are locked up in these places, many of whom are addicted to substances and are using drugs whilst serving a prison sentence and they are supposed to be in there to address their addictions? Brewery and pi*s up springs to mind!
My family including myself tried EVERYTHING to help my brother address his addiction. We failed and he was sent to prison. He is actually in the worst place to address his addiction and he is now addicted to another substance in prison... a substance he never used when he was on the outside so how the hell does that work? The judges, probation and drugs workers all agreed he could address his issues in prison! I am in stitches here writing this because the only thing he has progressed to whilst being in the nick is SPICE! It's a disgrace and the system has brought this upon themselves! More riots on the way I think and shame on the British Justice System.. 

Prison staff forced to turn blind eye to drugs, jihadism and violence as CONS run UK jails

Britain’s lock-ups have been described as violent places where inmates take drugs, drink and play on smuggled phones. Last week prison officers went on strike as images of lags drinking, eating steak and partying emerged online. Former prison officers have claimed they are told to turn a blind eye to the continued law-breaking and rule bending behind bars. Kelly Smith, 33, told The Sunday People she was asked to turn a blind eye to smuggled phones in the prison. She said: “It’s become ­ridiculous. Prisoners can do what they want. There aren’t enough staff to stop them. They’re running it, not the staff. You press an alarm and there are no staff there to come and help you.“The service is being cut everywhere and the governors are ignoring what’s going on while the prisons are going to s***. Staff are being pushed to their limit and they can’t cope.”

I'll give prison visits a wide berth - from a prisoners daughter

I belong to the prisoners families club because my dad is in prison.
My mum isn't with him anymore because he wore her down by taking drugs and always getting in to trouble.
I do not like drug addicts and thank God I did not venture down the path my dad did. I am 20 years old and I have seen the family desruction that drugs cause. Everyone focuses on the addict and the families are left to pick up the pieces. 
I was dragged all around the country visiting my dad in prisons when I was younger and when I reached 15, I could not be bothered sitting in a prison visit room listening to the sorry's because I was fed up of hearing that word, sorry. 
My dad is a junkie and it is only these past 12 months that I stopped hating him and started pitying him because what a fecking life drug addicts have! 
When I was younger I questioned all the time why he chose drugs over me but it isn't that straight forward for an addict. Nothing is straight forward for an addict.
Let's go back to the prisoners families thing. I have read allsorts online. Some things I agree with, some things I question what kind of silver spoon do gooder has written that!
Prisoners families? Should prisoners families maintain contact with their loved ones when they are sent to prison? Yes and no. 
My dad has been a jailbird all his life and I spent my childhood queueing up in prisons. He was and still is in and out of prison like a yo-yo. Sorry but the journeys get tiring and I would rather be out shopping with friends and enjoying life than sat in HMP listening to my drug addict dad who cannot come clean with himself shifting the blame on others because he is a drug addict and drug addicts lie and manipulate. 
I was once a member of an online forum and someone said to me: Gosh I would hate you as a daughter. My reply was: Try having a dad addicted to smack who thinks the world owes him. 
I was told all the usual bull shit when I was little: Your dad is working away: Let's visit your dad at 'work' AKA HMP: I heard every excuse in the book made for him and the truth was out when I was old enough to put 2 and 2 together. 
My dad is in prison again and the only memories I have of him is me and him chatting in a prison visit room. There was no family holidays because he was in prison. I can remember just 1 XMAS when he was at home and he never attended any of my parents evenings at school or was there for me when I needed a dad. 
He once blamed my Mum for turning me against him when I became older and didn't visit him in prison. Why should I put myself out for a drug addict dad when he has never been a dad? 
I sympathise with the young people who have contributed to your blog and this is one of the most honest platforms for prisoners families. Glam it up all you like but repeat offenders do not deserve loyal family members by their side. They give absolutely nothing back and everything revolves around them and them only. Sorry, no. There comes a time when a lost cause is a lost cause and when my dad, or should I say, if my dad one day decides he wants to be a dad instead of mopping prison wings and skivving money off every family member he can manipulate then he knows where to find me. In the meantime, I'll give the prison visits a wide berth and concentrate on my studies. 

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Liz Truss urged to 'get a grip' over inmates kept in jail beyond their sentence

Justice Secretary Liz Truss must "get a grip" on the backlog of inmates being held beyond their sentence, the chief inspector of prisons has said. Peter Clarke said it was "completely unjust" that offenders serving Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) terms were "languishing in jail". He warned that IPP sentences, abolished in 2012, were having a serious effect on prisoners' mental health. The Ministry of Justice said a new unit had been set up to tackle the problem.More than 3,800 prisoners in England and Wales are serving indeterminate IPP sentences, designed to protect the public.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

My son uses Spice in HMP - from an angry Dad

Dear Prison Widow.
I have read a few of your articles and would like to contribute to your blog.
My son is addicted to legal highs. He was a respectable young man with a job and lovely girlfriend. Spice turned him in to a violent monster. He hit his Mother; his girlfriend and her father in rages that were uncontrollable.
He has been rushed to A & E twice; contemplated taking his own life and was absorbed in his addiction which in the end the only place for him was the streets because he was too dangerous to have around.
Whilst under the influence of Spice; he committed a serious offence and was rightfully sent to prison. As a family we were relieved and thought that prison would help him to address his addiction. Wrong! He now uses other substances in prison and me and my wife have cut all contact simply because his demands for money were as bad as when he was living on the outside. We are not prepared to enable our son whilst he is serving a prison sentence. Yes I understand that family support and regular contact is important for families and prisoners but.... I am not enabling my son to use drugs whilst he is in prison.
We were advised to set boundaries but have you ever tried doing this with a drug addict? They will lie and jump through hoops to get their hands on money!
It's not good enough and those people who are honestly deluded enough to promote family contact make me sick to the pit of my stomach. Drug addicts should NEVER EVER be using substances whilst serving a prison sentence and the Government need to start cleaning up their prisons pretty quick sharp in my opinion. I am disgusted and outraged that my son is still using drugs whilst in HMP!

Prison Service? Get a grip! - from a prisoners wife

OK, for all prisoners who may or may not read this - let me tell you what you are doing to your children.
My son like thousands of other kids, has a Dad in prison - for the 3rd time.
Maintaining family ties (which we are 'encouraged' to do) did not have any impact whatsoever. If it did, he wouldn't have gone back to prison. 
For all the 'encouragers' out there, let me ask you a question please. Here goes - Prison's are rammed with repeat offenders. If families are so called the 'key' to reducing reoffending, why are there repeat offenders in prison? I work, have a lovely caring family and a beautiful son, yet we continue to come second to HMP. Let us not beat around the bush here, if my childs Dad really really wanted to be a father rather than a jailbird, he wouldn't be where he is now for the 3rd time - in prison.
As for the prison officer strike today? Well what does the Government expect? Get rid of the drugs and toughen the prison regime for God sake! Get a grip!

Friday, 11 November 2016

The Dutch prison crisis: A shortage of prisoners

While the UK and much of the world struggles with overcrowded prisons, the Netherlands has the opposite problem. It is actually short of people to lock up. In the past few years 19 prisons have closed down and more are slated for closure next year. How has this happened - and why do some people think it's a problem? The smell of fried onions wafts up the metal staircase, past the cell doors and along the wing. Down in the kitchen inmates are preparing their evening meal. One man, gripping a long serrated blade, is expertly chopping vegetables. "I've had six years to practice so I am getting better!" he says. It is noisy work because the knife is on a long steel chain attached to the worktop. "They can't take that knife with them," says Jan Roelof van der Spoel, deputy governor of Norgerhaven, a high-security prison in the north-east of the Netherlands. "But they can borrow small kitchen knives if they hand in their passes so we know exactly who has what."Some of these men are inside for violent offences and the thought of them walking around with knives might seem alarming. But learning to cook is just one of the ways the prison helps offenders to get back on track after their release.

Spice sprayed on children's crayon drawings: Prison smuggling scam of notorious 'suicide drug' revealed

It's been branded "the biggest health problem" currently facing prisons in Britain, and guards say they are still struggling to stop it.The flooding of jails with the psychoactive drug "spice" – also nicknamed the "suicide drug" – has been blamed for contributing to record levels of violence, self-harm and suicide behind bars.

Living with a parent addicted to heroin - from Leon

Hi. I have been reading many a post on your blog and would like to share my story.
I am 28 years old and my Dad was a heroin addict. By saying 'was' he is no longer with us as heroin finally buried him.
My Mum left him when I was 12 years old and gave him chance after chance but of course his heroin always came first. I saw a lot of pain growing up around him and Mum was always stressed out and unhappy. She finally saw sense and focused on just me and herself. Dad kinda stayed in touch sporadically and settled down with a fellow junkie girlfriend. No offence to both he and her but it was a relationship built purely on their love for heroin. Mum wouldn't allow me to see him so we spoke on the phone which wasn't a lot and when it was he was the usual bull-shitting self. Now I'm older and can reflect on it, it wasn't Dad talking, it was the heroin he'd injected in to his veins. 
Growing up around a parent with an addiction is not an environment I reccommend. It just isn't. When I was 15 I went to visit him in prison but I never got any answers so for me it wasn't constructive. At 18 I walked away for good because it was too painful. The last time I saw him was 2 years before his death and he did not look good. I won't describe how he looked, everyone deserves a bit of dignity but I went to see him in the chapel in private. He was my Dad. 
I am now married with a small family of my own and Mum is my rock. Her heart was too big for Dad - if only he realised - but then he wouldn't have would he because his first and only love was heroin.