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.