Friday, 20 January 2017

No cotton wool coaching - from an ex prisoner and drug addict

Dear Prison Widow. I am an ex offender and my crimes were based around my drug addiction. I was an entire waste of space and I hurt a lot of people close to me. 
Please do not think that I am being mean, but part and parcel of my failure to beat addiction was being wrapped in cotton wool by professionals. Yes; I needed compassion in some areas but what I really needed was someone to tell me straight whether it be harsh or not. Again not meaning to be rude; I had two drug workers who spoke to me like I was a pre-school nursery child and it didn't work for me; sorry. I understand their are guidelines and political correctness policies, but some of it is no good and I eventually kicked the gear when I met an ex drug user who volunteers for a local organisation. He was to the point and he was very blunt. I needed to hear what he said and that gave me a kick up the backside to do something about my addiction. Some people frowned upon him because he was too much to the point but trust me; drug addicts need to be disciplined if they want to come off the gear. Hugs and kisses don't cut it and I have no issue whatsoever with compassionate drug workers but overly compassionate and text book support is something I don't think drug addicts should be subjected to. My original drug worker was a lovely lady but she had never lived around drugs nor ever taken drugs to understand the enormity of how addicts feel. Prison was no good for me either. I just met more drug addicts, took more drugs and had more numbers in my phone of people I could score off. Please don't think I am dissing the drug agencies because I'm not; their jobs must be hard and frustrating but for me; hard talk and wake up calls worked better for me rather than being wrapped in cotton wool.
To Casey, I have just read your story and I have no words. I feel ashamed that drugs also parted me from my loved ones. Until you give up the gear, you have no idea how it affects your family. I also agree that the so called war on drugs was lost years ago. Society today is well and truly screwed to the wall. 
From Anonymous. 

Born a heroin addict - from 'Casey'

Hello Prison Widow UK. 
Apologies beforehand if my email upsets some people. 
Twenty six (26) years ago I entered the world as a heroin addict. The person who gave birth to me couldn't get enough of heroin and God only knows what else she took to satisfy her high. I refer to her as a 'person' by the way because 'mother' is not appropriate. I know some women battling with addiction have remarkably made amends and have changed their lives for the better, but the person who carried me continued to smack herself up and passed away in 2010 of, surprise surprise, a heroin overdose. She was reportedly found alone in a bedsit which was surprising because the bedsit was occupied by a number of junkies? Quite obviously there's no 'friends' in this game! Long story short, I was placed in care and raised by two angels. 
The impact this has had on me has been challenging. I have had a beautiful stable family life with my parents but as I got older I battled with wondering how a person could poison a living breathing human being inside of her. It was said that I was very poorly when I was prematurely born. I have researched addiction and flayed my skin off in the dead of the night thinking how addiction is classed as a disease? To a certain degree I get it but I don't wear it. It doesn't wash with me at all. There are people who have overcome their addictions therefore to stop is 'doable.' With the right help and support, beating addiction is 'doable'. 
It all depends on whether that individual WANTS to change their life but the person who gave birth to me never even once attempted to because she didn't WANT to come off the high. People know that if they dabble with class A drugs their life is going down one road only so addiction in my opinion is a choice. No one forced the woman who gave birth to me to shoot heroin in to her veins. As a matter of fact, her sperm donor helped her to find veins where she could inject and drift off in to an artificial world. 
Last year, my friend passed away of ovarian cancer. She fought to live and my word did she fight. A few weeks ago I ended up in the accident and emergency department after a slip on some ice and was sat next to a junkie who had a piece of kitchen roll pressed on to his arm.
Overhearing a conversation it was a wound due to missing a vein. I moved away and sat elsewhere because when I think of my friend fighting to live, I look upon junkies as scum of the earth. A drain on resources. 
Sorry if I have offended anyone. I know there are families who are going through difficult times with a loved one who is addicted to drugs. This is simply my story and opinion. 
Children affected by substance misuse (parental) do not have the support in the UK. There are thousands and thousands of children, teenagers and adults who are wanting answers. 
There is no war on drugs, as a matter of fact drug addiction has soared. 
I simply just want to let other readers know that they are not going through this alone. I was born an addict, and I live to tell the tale. With the kindest of regards, Casey. 

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Wrexham prison set to accept inmates on 27 February

Wrexham's new prison will accept its first inmates on 27 February, the BBC understands. The £212m category C "super-prison" HMP Berwyn can house 2,106 offenders, making it the largest in the UK. Work began on the site on the Wrexham Industrial Estate in May 2015 and recruitment has been under way for just over a year.The Ministry of Justice said the prison would open "at the end of February" but would not confirm an exact date.

I ran from heroin - from Mich

I have decided to write in and basically give people some hope. I was with my partner for 12 years and he was in and out of prison. He had a drug problem and I was his enabler. I thought by giving him money I was helping him and he wouldn't steal or commit crime. It never worked and he always ended up in prison. I stayed in touch and visited him when I could and sent him money to make sure he was OK. He came out of prison and bought drugs more or less straight away. Three years ago I became pregnant and he said he would be done with drugs. I had faith he would stop but all throughout my pregnancy heroin came before me and our unborn. He promised and promised that when our baby was born he would get help and stop. He never did and when I gave birth I gave birth on my own because he was high somewhere at a friends house and then lied saying the taxi was late and had let him down. The lies used to roll off his tongue but I still believed him. A few weeks after the birth he went on methadone to try and quit but he was still using on top of his script. When our baby was a month old, I packed up and left and went to live with my Mum. I was heartbroken and stayed in touch with him only to be fed more lies about him stopping using drugs. I met him and still slept with him for the next 6 months. One morning I had to go to the doctors and on my way on the bus I saw him coming out of a house with a woman. The house was a known druggie house and the woman was a drug addict because I knew her. For me that was the end. 
I changed my phone number and stopped all contact. It killed me because there was nothing more I wanted than to be a happy family but I was lying to myself. 
Two years on I live alone with my son and I am happy. I have a little flat and I don't see my ex. The last I heard he was at rock bottom but he isn't my problem. It's his loss and after counselling I realised that I was ill too when I was his enabler. I neglected myself just to make his drug problem easier because I was giving him money.
I'm healthy now and my son is my world. I couldn't even image bringing him up around someone using that nasty stuff. I know it's a personal decision but for me the best thing I did was run away from not necessarily him, but heroin. It hurt me and hurt a lot but life is so much better away from the lies and the drama. Thanks for listening, Mich. xx

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Monday, 16 January 2017

We are serving life too - from the parents of a Lifer in the UK

Dear Prison Widow.
Both my husband and I are pensioners and I read the post from a lady who quoted that she felt out of place at a support group because of her age.
Our son is in prison and he is a lifer. 
We will never see him again here outside before we pass away. 
He needs to be in prison, there is no doubt about that, but as a parent it doesn't make life any easier. 
We visit him but not often because my husband is in ill health. Our real only means of staying in touch is via phone calls and it isn't the same as seeing someone in the flesh. 
What he did made us both ill and we didn't go to the trial although that didn't stop the press from hounding us. That in itself was enough to put us both in hospital. It was terrible and very stressful. My husband wouldn't even go to the shop for his morning newspaper. Eventually we had to move area and that was emotional and very hard to do. We had lived in our home for over 40 years and brought three children up there. 
It is more than just being a mum or a dad of a prisoner. What comes with it is devastating and people don't realise this unless they have been through it.
We now live somewhere quiet where no one knows us. It's peaceful but we miss our old home and community. Sadly though we had no choice but to move courtesy of a select few who made our lives a living hell because of what our son did. We didn't do anything wrong but was sentenced along with him. 
I hope our story can raise some awareness for you and give people some insight on what impact these situations have on families. Our daughter has written this email and submitted it for us. Love to all other families who are going through similar. From Mum and Dad of a Lifer. 

My parents the drug addicts - from Iain

I've read many stories on children being affected by a parent on drugs. It affected me and I was raised by my grandparents. They got little help and basically I grew up thinking that my parents didn't want me. In so many words they didn't because they chose Heroin over me.
Both my parents are now dead through illnesses related to substance misuse. My grandparents are also in heaven due to old age and natural causes.
I never got answers and the only thing that helps me to try to understand is reading as much as I can about drugs and how it affects all of us, not just the drug addicts. From Iain.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Shocking prison footage shows drug-fuelled violence and naked inmates pretending to be fighting dogs

Shocking footage has emerged which shows inmates involved in bizarre drug-fuelled antics and violence in prison - before being posted on social media using smuggled mobile phones. A series of clips obtained by the M.E.N. suggest drugs and mobile phones are used freely behind bars. The videos record violence, humiliation and even a pair of naked prisoners wearing nothing but masks pretending to be fighting dogs, apparently under the influence of a potent synthetic drug known as spice.“The inmates are running the prisons, not the prison officers,” one former prisoner told the M.E.N.The Prison Service has now launched an investigation after we handed over the unedited footage.Five of the six clips we handed over are believed to have been recorded at Salford’s Forest Bank Prison.

Hold the Government responsible for neglect

Blah, blah, blahdi blah! Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn don't see what we see do they? I see it and so do the many thousands of people who work their bones off in the health care industry. In fact, here's a little story for you told to me by a dedicated healthcare assistant who works at The Royal Bolton Hospital. 
Funding? Yes it got slashed, and on one ward you've got a complete moron with an absess the size of a golf ball on his groin because he missed a vein trying to inject smack; and opposite him is a frail man who has soiled himself and has dementia. The junkie is creating holy-hell because he's rattling and causing havoc on the ward and the man with dementia is very poorly and confused. As a healthcare assistant, who do you see to first? There's no catch here, you see, the healthcare assistant has to make that decision because she is practically lone working because the staffing levels are dire. 
Ten minutes later, a woman needs assisting with her lunch but the other lady in the next bed to her has had an accident and requires personal care and clean bedding immediately. I don't know about you Mr and Mrs MP's of the UK, but I was born with just one pair of hands. 
When you enter the healthcare sector as your chosen career, you are required by law to complete mandatory courses. One of the many modules you will come across is, 'abuse and neglect'. It's serious stuff and rightly so. 
But the very people who compiled these mandatory courses, (our wonderful competent Government) are the very people who should be charged with neglect! Why? Because look at the bigger picture here. NVQ 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and how many other healthcare courses there are, are all well and good but they are also bull-shit under the current circumstances. Dignity in care? Well yes, but when you are forced to make decisions on which two extremely needy dementia patients requires assistance first because staffing levels are dire; it is nothing more than scandalous. The Government doodle up mandatory courses and they are the biggest culprits who neglect their people. It's all a game. 
I worked in a care home once and my experience was heartbreaking. Most days I would be consoling carers who were crying through exhaustion and sheer frustration. Again; staffing levels and greedy private business people profiting from the elderly. I'd name the person but I don't want to add to the rest of his controversial portfolio, but I challenged him and threw his rattle out of his pram, didn't you Chai? Oops a slip of the tongue there! 
Oh, and let me mention too that I whistleblew and that was my biggest accomplishment when working in the care home. Animals were treated better and it sickened me to the pit of my stomach. It was heart wrenching. Damn I wish I was camera-red up at the time! 
I'm not a stupid person, far from it; and you can't teach 'care.' Being a caring, compassionate person is something you cannot be taught. You either have it in you or you don't. That's as simple as it gets. 
Neglect and abuse in care? What's that? Ask the Government, they'll tell you all about it. 

Prison Widow UK 

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Woodhill prison mental health staffing 'insufficient'

Mental health staffing levels at a jail where nine inmates have committed suicide since 2012 are "insufficient", a report has said. Healthcare services at HMP Woodhill in Milton Keynes were inspected by the Care Quality Commission amid concerns over the number of deaths. While staff had the necessary skills, there were not enough of them, the inspectors found.The NHS trust which runs the service said more staff had been recruited.Inspectors visited the Category A prison in September.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Support for older prisoners families - from a mother

Dear Prison Widow UK
I have 2 sons in prison and whilst there is a support group for prisoners families in my area; I felt like a bit of a spare part as most of the attendees were young mums. 
I have friends who are dear to me but they don't fully understand how I feel and change the subject if I talk about my sons. Maybe they are doing it for my own good but sometimes I need to offload and talk about my feelings. 
The support group is good and I feel welcomed but I don't feel connected. 
My sons have been in prison for 3 years and won't be released any time soon. We have a long wait.
They are in completely different prisons and I visit them both on my own when I can afford to. My health isn't great but I soldier on. 
Their father passed away in 2013 so literally I am on this journey by myself. 
Please could you publish my email so that hopefully it raises some awareness about us oldies! Thanks in advance, 

Yours Sincerely

A mum of 2 sons currently in prison in the UK

You Tube Prison Widow UK Coming Soon!



Medication stopped in HMP Doncaster? - from Phil

A transgender woman remanded in a male prison on an attempted murder charge has been found dead in her cell. Jenny Swift was found hanged at HMP Doncaster, South Yorkshire, amid reports she had been asked to be placed in a women’s prison. The Prison Service confirmed Ms Swift, charged under the name Jonathan Swift, was found unresponsive at 12.40am on 30 December, and despite efforts by prison staff and paramedics, she was declared dead 30 minutes later. Prior to her arrest, she had been taking hormones to help her transition but her medication was stopped when she entered custody, the Sheffield Star reported.

1. medication stopped? And this person wasn't under watch by prison officers?
2. medication stopped? Stop methadone medication for junkies then!
3. the side effects of stopping hormone medication can have a serious physical effect and mental health one too.
4. the prison service need to be held accountable for this persons death.
5. that is all I can say on this matter. From Phil

Saturday, 7 January 2017

A fractured prison system - by Steven a father of a prisoner

I have a son who is also in HMP Hindley. In fact he likes it so much he has been in there a few times! 
I read a lot of baloney about prisoners families and how much our support has an impact on deterring reoffending which pardon my French is utter bull. 
Probation have been neither use nor ormanent, and other than waffling on for a few minutes and ticking that all important box to say my son had been to his appointment; well what can I say other than my son was running rings around them! 
He was clever enough not to get recalled but crafty enough to play the system like a fiddle.
People often say, 'you cannot beat the system.' You only have to watch the video footage on the prisoners partying in HMP Hindley to know that the system is being thrashed! The only power the system has is to lock people away and believe me, it does not scare my son nor does it deter him from commiting crime. He once said to me that he has a laugh in prison and it's no big deal. Like the Mother of a son who posted her story about her son being in HMP Hindley, I too wish for nothing more than for my boy to sort his life out. 
Probation and other authoritive figures say 'it is down to him to sort himself out.' Easy enough to say when my son enters HMP and can get smacked up and high as a kite at his leisure! As soon as he steps foot on the sweat box he is set up to fail!
I read a while back someone on your blog suggested closed visits for a while. I'd be up for that! I would be very very interested how the drugs are getting inside although it isn't rocket science. I would sit and visit my son behind perspex no problem. In fact I might have a half decent conversation instead of covering my ears to the screaming kids that run riot in the visitors room! What is the system afraid of? Don't tell me, if they imposed such a thing it would cause riots right? And if they changed certain rules that would cause riots to? Anything these days causes riots in prison and that is because the system has kindergarten pre-school atittude with fractured backbones. 
I would love to meet my sons victims, first to apologise for his wrongdoings and secondly to inform them that he is doing fine in prison and is often high on spice, weed, smack, or whatever he can get his hands on. Imagine that? Imagine how they would feel because truth beknown if someone burgled my house and I watched the video footage of prisoners partying, I would be damn well furious! 
It's a joke but it's far from funny! I would like to contribute to your blog again in the near furture with updates. Thank you for your time and alass we have a site that is honest without all the Government jargon! Kind wishes, Steven. 

Friday, 6 January 2017

My son is in HMP Hindley - from a worried Mum

I am writing to you to forward my concerns regarding HMP Hindley.
My son is in there serving a sentence for drug related offences and I am disgusted at the footage showing inmates partying on drugs and sharing their antics on social media websites. 
This may sound a terrible thing to say but I was glad when my son went to prison because I could not tolerate anymore from him. He brought endless trouble to my door and I began having anxiety problems which led to a near-on nervous breakdown. I love my son but like many other families have said on your site, I did not like what and who he had become. 
He had a brilliant education and has a string of qualifications but threw them on the scrap heap to become what he thought was a gangster. The inevitable outcome was that it all ended in tears and he got himself nicked. 
I had hoped a prison sentence would sort him out, make him a better person and turn his life around. But - how in God's name can he do that in a prison that looks like a bloody drugs doss house! I am disgusted, worried, and just don't know what to think.
How the hell are they getting away with partying and boasting about it on social media sites? What are the prison officers doing and how are bars of drugs getting through? What a bloody down and out shambles! Please don't publish my name and details as I would like to remain anonymous. 

Transgender woman found dead in cell at HMP Doncaster

A transgender woman being held at a male prison while on remand has been found dead in her cell, it has emerged. Jenny Swift, 49, was found unresponsive at HMP Doncaster, South Yorkshire, on 30 December and later pronounced dead. Ms Swift, from Seaforth in Sefton, Merseyside, was remanded in custody after a man was stabbed in November and later died.An unnamed friend of hers said she had asked to be put into a women's prison, the Sheffield Star reported.

Prisoners run the prisons - by an ex offender

I watched the footage on the laughable HMP Hindley Rave  and anyone, and I mean anyone, especially the idiots who came to the poor conclusion that families can reduce reoffending are nothing more than brain-washed! 
I have been to prison, a few times in fact, and I take my hat off to those on your blog who have come forward and said that families cannot reduce reoffending. For those with substance misuse issues; they are correct. 
You cannot 'help' 'cure' or 'support' anyone with a drug addiction without those words becoming 'enabling.' 
The Hindley 'party'is both embarrassing and hysterical and proves that HMP's are in deep crisis. 
Did you see the size of the block of cannabis? Well unless the screws heads were turned there is no chance on earth that weed bar came out of a visitors bra! I know the drill, I know what goes on and there aint no governors or NOMS people run our prisons - the prisoners run them because it has simply gone too far. Put it this way, would I rather be living homeless in a tent or would I be in prison? Prison all the way! The system is an embarrassment! End of story. 

Thursday, 5 January 2017

how do I tell my daughter? - from JN

Hi Prison Widow and fellow readers. I was pointed to your blog by a friend of mine and have lurked in the shadows reading posts until I could respond with my story. I have read the post by Anon who stated that there is no support for prisoners families with a loved one in prison battling with drug addiction. 
I agree and took a deep breath whilst reading it. 
My daughter is now 13 and is asking more indepth questions about her dad who is currently in prison. He has a drug addiction problem and I have no idea how to explain this to her. 
He is a heroin addict but no offence, doesn't look like one meaning he worked, ate well and looked after himself of a fashion. 
I have sheltered my daughter a lot and protected her from the wicked world but now she is growing up and fast and wants answers; answers I am struggling to get across. 
How do you tell a 13 year old that their dad is a drug addict especially one addicted to heroin; a drug that is ruthless? 
Just before Christmas she came home from school and asked me if her dad was a 'smackhead' (her words) because a girl in her class told her he was and that her Mum knows him. 
I can't prolong this anymore so I intend to sit and talk to her this weekend. 
She visits her dad in prison and has asked him why he keeps breaking the law. He dances around the question and doesn't tell her the truth in order not to upset her but she is going to find out the truth one day whether I or her dad tries to protect her from it or not. The post about family visits struck a chord with me because the person is spot on by saying that family visits are somewhat of a farce because the whole thing isn't realistic, well it isn't for me and I trust they aren't for children who's parent in prison is battling with addiction and continues to reoffend. 
I am at a loss. I am so at a loss. 
Please don't publish my real name. Thank you. 

Shocking footage shows prisoners bare-knuckle fighting at 'wild' HMP Hindley Christmas party

Prisoners held a wild Christmas party behind bars and then uploaded brazen footage of inmates taking drugs and holding bare-knuckle brawls. The footage and pictures show inmates at HMP Hindley in Wigan dancing and making gun signs, while one lag shouts: “This is how we do it Christmas in Hindley boys!” The red Santa hat-wearing inmates posed for group pictures, with the captions “Crimbo day. In hmp hindley” and “The team crimbo day”.


Prisoners families not enough support - from Anon

Whilst it's all very good having family visits and children seeing a parent in prison; I feel in my situation that the whole thing is for show and happy families we are not playing.
My partner is in prison and we have 2 small children. He has battled with drug addiction for years and after a good spell of being clean, he is back in HMP. 
I visited him during the Christmas holidays with our children and he admitted to taking drugs in prison because he was missing me and the kids. Then I watched him spending quality time with the children and thought 'this is not enough.' Our children need a father not a drug addict. 
He has admitted to using drugs in prison so for me the chances of him coming home clean is not a good percentage and the children are back to square one. The family visits are great, very good, but the root of the problem still lingers and I feel there is not enough support for prisoners families with a loved one battling drug addiction no matter how fantastic the family visits are. That's my 2 pennies worth and let's face it, it's the bigger picture! Love to all from Anon. 

Thorn Cross open prison praised by inspectors

An open prison in Cheshire is well-led, with very good outcomes for prisoners and few violent incidents, according to Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons, Peter Clarke. HMP and YOI Thorn Cross in Warrington, which houses about 380 inmates, was inspected in October last year.Inspectors found inmates were able to access good education and vocational training opportunities.Support to help prisoners resettle back into communities was also rated good.

Update coming soon on ex offender cafe owner - by Prison Widow UK

WHEN Daniel Shah was sent to jail for armed robbery in 2005, he seemed destined to live a life of crime. But after years in and out of trouble, Mr Shah decided to turn his life around and worked towards owning his own business. Last week his ambition became a reality as he welcomed his first customers to the CafĂ© Lounge in Farnworth Precinct. The ex-offender, aged 26, said he could not be more proud of his latest venture after saving for two years. Mr Shah, who lives in Prestwich, said: “If someone had told me three years ago I’d own a cafe I wouldn’t have believed them. “I’m very open about my past when people come in and so far their support has been amazing. We’ve already got regular customers. “I think this new business is down to a combination of things. I did learn a lot when I was prison but when I came out I got a job straight away doing cleaning work and started to save. “I actually think prison is too easy for people but once you’re out you’re pretty much on you’re own. For me it was a case of making the most of the probation service. I just knew I wanted to own my own business so I just saved as much as I could and secured the loan. I’m lucky to be able to live with my parents in Prestwich, who have supported me all the way.” Mr Shah wanted to work in the catering industry after working at high end restaurant Australasia in Manchester.He was then loaned £6,000 from Business Finance Solutions — part of the Government’s Start-Up Loan programme.Once the 50 seater cafe is up and running, Mr Shah plans to convert the side room into space for young people.


Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Ex-HMYOI Deerbolt inmate from Bolton turns life around thanks to embroidery

A YOUNG entrepreneur has spoken about how embroidery has helped him turn his life around — after spending time in prison. Now aged 22, Javed Ali spent from January, 2014, to July, 2016, behind bars after being convicted of a blackmail offence. He spent most of his time inside at a young offenders’ institute, HMYOI Deerbolt, where he was given work in a print workshop and was paid £8 per week.Mr Ali, of Deane Road, said he wanted people to “say good thing about me “ and decided it was time to make big changes.

COMMENT: Well done Javed! We wish you all the best in your new venture.

Monday, 2 January 2017

No support for families that have no choice - from Tracy

Hi. I would like to share my story and get a few things off my chest. 
I'm no longer "accepted" as a prisoners wife or partner anymore because I walked away from it. That doesn't mean that the whole experience doesn't hurt anymore because it does and it's still raw. But I can honestly say that the freedom and peace is so much better than serving a prison sentence alongside my ex which was what I was doing. My ex is now out of prison and back on the heroin with his heroin addicted new partner. I bumped in to both of them at my local town centre shopping mall and we spoke in a civilised manner. He told me they were sofa surfing and didn't have a place to live. He looked rough and looked like, well both looked like homeless heroin addicts. 
He left a life behind that consisted of a lovely family, a beautiful daughter, a job and a nice home for heroin. I can't include his current partner because she's an addict so their relationship is based purely on smack. 
I hadn't seen him in 6 months and I was glad of it because I couldn't help him anymore. The drugs meant far more than me and his family so I let him go. 
It hurt me to see him again and I feel I have taken a few steps back but I know my decision was the right one. 
To see him at an all time low wasn't great but what can families do? 
For me and I totally agree with the Father of a drug dealer, prisoners families cannot 'cure' and prevent their loved ones from re-offending especially when the drugs come before anything and everything else. Drug addicts/repeat offenders are the only people to reduce re-offending by knocking the drugs on the head and there is no way possible that families can control the situation so please stop offending prisoners families by using this quote.
I would like to see more support aimed at families like myself who have no choice but to walk away from a loved one addicted to drugs. It still has an impact on us and it feels like we don't belong to any support groups because we no longer support a person in prison with a drug problem although some of us have children together or are parents of those addicted to drugs. Thanks and Happy New Year to all. 

Prisoners families ripped apart - from a Father of a prisoner

Hello Prison Widow and Happy New Year.
I have a son in prison in the UK and we have been estranged for 3 years. 
He was convicted of dealing heroin amongst other destructive substances. 
His brother died of a drugs overdose in 2012 and this did not stop him from selling heroin. My son isn't a drug addict by the way, he is addicted to making money from the drugs! 
I decided to cut ties with him 3 years ago because I despise drug dealers and the pain they inflict on families. He's my son I know, but his 'occupation' is revolting. 
A young man in our community died of a drugs overdose on Xmas Eve and needless to say his family are beside themselves. I thanked God that it wasn't my son who sold it him as of course he is in prison. 
Some people judge me for turning my back on my son but I'll allow them their opinion, it's fine by me. My son wishes to live his experience the way he wants to which is his choice. Drugs and being around those who sell it isn't my choice and that's the way it is. 
His Mother, my Wife, still visits him in prison albeit not on a weekly basis. 
He also has 2 sisters; they do not see or speak to him. You see, this is the pattern isn't it? You needn't be an addict for drugs to rip apart families. 
I agree with all those families who disagree that prisoners families cannot reduce offending. Whoever and I mean no disrespect directly; said families are the main point of reducing reoffending are deluded. They are deluded to the point of insanity! 
I would love the Government to throw the proof on the table; undoctored of course! 
All the best to you and keep up this excellent work. 

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Heroin baby - from a devastated Grandmother

Hello. I am writing to you to first of all tell you that I have found some comfort reading your blog. I know I am not going through this alone which makes it a little more bearable. 
My son died of an heroin overdose 6 months ago and his girlfriend is due to give birth to my grandchild soon. She is a heroin addict also and the child will be born a heroin addict. It disgusts me that drug addicts self neglect but to thrust this dirty vile drug in to an unborn child is sick. I have no words. 
The baby will go straight in to the hands of the authorities when he is born and I am in touch with social services. I am in my 60's and not in great health otherwise I would have fought hard for this child but I have to be sensible. Even so it breaks my heart.
I adored my son because he is my son but I didn't like what he had become. His addiction made me very very ill and I suffered a stroke when he died. 
I used to shout at him telling him to stop but I now know that it wasn't as easy as that. 
Even though my son is no longer here, I still have plenty more heartache to come and I am powerless to help my little grandson who will be born withdrawing from heroin. If I may ask please don't publish my real name. With all my love and thanks. 

Are You in a Codependent Relationship?

Do you find yourself making lots of sacrifices for your partner's happiness, but not getting much in return? If that kind of one-sided pattern sounds like yours, you don't have to feel trapped. There are lots of ways to change a codependent relationship and get your life back on an even keel.
What Is a Codependent Relationship? 
The first step in getting things back on track is to understand the meaning of a codependent relationship. Experts say it's a pattern of behavior in which you find yourself dependent on approval from someone else for your self-worth and identity. One key sign is when your sense of purpose in life wraps around making extreme sacrifices to satisfy your partner's needs.
How to Know You're in a Codependent Relationship 
Watch out for these signs that you might be in a codependent relationship: Are you unable to find satisfaction in your life outside of a specific person? Do you recognize unhealthy behaviors in your partner but stay with him or her in spite of them? Are you giving support to your partner at the cost of your own mental, emotional, and physical health?
Impact of a Codependent Relationship 
Giving up your own needs and identity to meet the needs of a partner has unhealthy short-term and long-term consequences. "You can become burned out, exhausted, and begin to neglect other important relationships," Burn says. "And if you're the enabler in a codependent relationship -- meaning you promote the other person's dysfunctions -- you can prevent them from learning common and needed life lessons."
How to Change a Codependent Relationship 
Breaking up isn't necessarily the best or only solution. To repair a codependent relationship, it's important to set boundaries and find happiness as an individual, says psychologist Misty Hook, PhD. She recommends that partners talk about and set relationship goals that satisfy them both.

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Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Rocking around the cannabis tree!

Police in Cheltenham, England, raided a small cannabis farm in a local home this week and confiscated all the plants found inside. But one plant nearly escaped notice, hidden in plain sight by all the decorations of Christmas "tree." The Gloucestershire Constabulary snapped a photo of the festive weed before seizing it:

High as a kite in HMP - from a former prisoner and drug addict

Hi and seasons greetings to all. 
I am emailing you in regards to the recent post by Anonymous titled, 'Prison is my comfort blanket.' 
I'm an addict, an heroin and methadone one although I haven't used heroin for 13 weeks. 
If I may say something before going any further and this is to, Liz Truss and Michael Spurr - I cannot remember much of the prison sentence I recently served because I was off my head for the majority of it! 
I know the Prison Widow Blog is a no holds barred one, so a no holds barred email is what you are getting. I only wish I had access to a mobile phone in prison to send footage to the ill-informed Judge who sent me to prison claiming he hoped I would address my addiction issues whilst in there. Actually I continued to use and abuse drugs in prison and was even introduced to a couple more substances!
Here's one for the head of the prison service, Michael Spurr. Recently on Sky News, you blamed the violence in prison's on drugs. 
Whilst I was in prison, I tried a substance called K2 AKA Spice. It sent me doo-lally and it would have been plainly obvious to anyone that my whole demeanour changed. It would have been very obvious to the screws who had gotten to know me. Need I really say anymore? 
The media have focused on the violence being down to lock down and staffing levels. I get it and to a point yes it is, but here's another Q for the powers that be who overlook the prison estate - How does employing more screws combat the drugs epidemic? You can take this whichever way you want to take it but there are bent screws making money inside and of course outside visitors are also supplying HMP. 
Prison is an absolute waste of fuc*ing space for drug addicts. Prison does not work full stop.
Cheers for allowing me to rant and rave and please do publish my name. It's Andy and I am an addict and ex con who got high as a kite whilst banged up in the British Prison System. 

Prison is my comfort blanket - from a ex female prisoner

I read the article in the Guardian about women prisoners 'prefering' prison to that of the outside. I am one of them and before anyone jumps on my case; I am not weak and would love more than anything to have a good life on the out. 
I am a drug user (heroin) and I sell my body to fund my addiction. I don't pinch money off my loved ones and I have never robbed anyone either. My addiction is my issue and I work the streets to buy my gear. 
I have been in prison (a number of times) and it is a salvation. When I'm in there I don't have to sleep with dirty old men and perfom sex acts to survive. When I say 'survive' I mean to function because when you are addicted to heroin, it's not about 'the high' anymore, it's about using it to feel normal. Prison is my comfort blanket and despite what anyone says, I feel safe there. When I get in to a car with punter, who knows, that could very well be my last time. 
I have been released from prison in to the hands of a probation officer who has never had a 15 year heroin addiction problem. I am asked to do a CV which takes me all of 5 minutes because I have no work history or hobbies. For 15 years I have used heroin therefore fu8k all else mattered. To be told to 'sort myself out' is easier said than done. Heroin alters your mindset - forever. You don't just stop using it and everything becomes hunky dory again. It doesn't work like that. No degree at University can help anyone to understand what it is like to be a heroin addict. To walk in my shoes you will have to take a step in to my mind as well.
I have been released in to hostels in the past with other heroin addicts who use drugs in front of me. I have been recalled back to prison for breaching my licence and the merry go round keeps on going. 
I have never been 'rehabilitated in prison.' That's because I am a drug addict and you cannot rehabilitate drug addicts in prison. OK things might be put in to place such as housing, benefits and outside therapy once a week but listen, I have been using heroin for 15 years and once a week therapy is a Government tick box exercise that doesn't work. If it did our prisons wouldn't be overcrowed and there wouldn't be more being thrown up. 
I don't know what else to say. I am in a rut where only prison seems to be the life for me and somewhere where I feel safe and content. How sad is that? 
Please keep my name anonymous and thank you so much for providing people like me a platform for our stories to be read. Thank you and God bless you. 

Prisoners burrow out of jail by removing loo

A manhunt is under way after six prisoners escaped from a US jail by removing a toilet and crawling though a hole behind it. The inmates escaped the prison in Cocke County, Tennessee, early on Christmas morning.Bolts holding the toilet had rusted and the prisoners were able to remove it.They then busted a hole through the concrete behind it, which had been damaged during plumbing repairs.

Christmas Day 'incident' at Cardiff prison

Officers at Cardiff prison had to resolve a Christmas Day disturbance, the Ministry of Justice has confirmed. No staff or prisoners were injured in the "isolated incident" which lasted for about 40 minutes on one wing at HMP Cardiff at 10:00 GMT on Sunday. "We do not tolerate this behaviour," said an MOJ statement.Last week, four prisoners barricaded themselves into a cell at Cardiff prison in protest of being moved after riots in Birmingham.No exact details of the latest disturbance have been given.The MOJ said: "Prisoners who behave in this way will be punished and could spend significantly longer behind bars."