Written by Lisa Higgins for Prisoners Families Voices
I came across a post on Prisoners Families Voices concerning prisoners addicted to drugs. My long term partner served 5 years in prison and was placed on a drugs therapeutic wing. No drugs were 'allowed' on this wing. No drugs should be allowed on any prison wing, but on the TC (therapeutic community wing) drugs were a no no. The thing was, my partner was indeed able to get hold of drugs on this so called ' no drugs allowed' unit. Many times my partner was 'off his head' and no one could tell me any different because during a visit, his eyes were pinned and I knew the 'heroin' face of his because I lived with it for two years. Like a lot of people, I thought that prison and the TC wing would have done my partner some good. I supported him ( more fool me ) and thought that this was an ideal opportunity for him to sort his head out and become drug free. But there is no such thing as drug free in prison. If the courts and white collars really think there is, then a brain transplant should indeed be on their Christmas wish list. Living with someone addicted to Heroin is draining to the point of breaking. Heroin addicts will squeeze the last tiny bit of hope and patience from anyone. I can say it because I have lived with it. I too have had money stolen, phones pinched, valuables weighed in at the local Cash Converter and bank details used for thieving pay-day loan companies who rinsed my bank account on many occasions even though I TOLD them that the loan wasn't mine and 'someone' (my partner) had used my account online to obtain loans. And no, I hadn't a clue until my wages were paid in and taken out. To say I had been through hell and back was an understatement. When my partner was sent down, I was glad. In fact, I was over the moon because little Miss trustworthy me thought the prison would sort him out. When I heard about the TC wing, I was over the moon because it sounded like a real good deal (if that's what you can call it) to back on track. How wrong I was. I watch Jeremy Kyle most days and my opinion is that the straight talking chap Jezza offers more help and support than any prison in the country! Maybe the courts should send all the offenders to him because the prisons aren't getting any positive results that's for sure! I don't know the 'success' statistics with TC wings, but having spoken to my partner about it, the one thing he did say was that the majority of prisoners failed the course. Probably because prison's are swarming with gear? Probably. Families of prisoners are fed so much bullshit by the powers that be and not one of us are offered any support by the Government. (by the way Jezza even offers family support!)
It is OK sending drug addicts to prison to teach them a lesson and coax them in to becoming drug free, but the fact of the matter is, most cells are crack dens in prison so mission failed with a big capital F. It stands to reason though because when my partner first went to prison, he shared a cell with another heroin addict who tooted his way through the night. Not a great sight for someone who wanted to conquer his habit so my partner joined him chasing the dragon. He could have said no, but the chances of that with any addict would have been very remote. Heroin is one of the most powerful substances on earth, so for anyone to even say that he should have said no needs their head testing. Strange place, cold cell, prison bars, no freedom, missing family.... sure they would say no!
When my partner used the bathroom at home and I went to use it after him, I knew he had smoked Heroin. Why? Because it smelt and it has a weird odour which is why I can't fathom out why the prison officers can't smell it. or can they and is it a case of turning a blind eye? I would like to know because as a non-user myself, I could detect that smell anywhere and bust any cell that has the shit in it! The system as many people have said is a joke. In fact, it is embarrassing beyond belief and I am not taking it that the prisons cannot get on top of the drugs issue. Basically what I am trying to say is that and pardon my French, is that the system are well and truly taking the piss out of the likes of prisoners families by helping prisoners to re-offend. Prison's are not places of rehabilitation and never will be. They need to make money don't they?