Wednesday, 23 November 2016

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.