More than 60 per cent of people thought that sending women with
drug problems to prison was an inappropriate way of helping them to
overcome their substance misuse problems, according to a DrugScope
report, writes Clare Jerrom.
The research also found that almost two thirds of people
questioned did not think that sending so many women to prison was
making society safer.
“The two unavoidable findings of this report are that far
too many women are being sentenced inappropriately into custody,
and that far too little is being done to address the underlying
causes of women’s drug-related offending,” said Natasha
Vromen, campaign co-ordinator for DrugScope’s ‘Using
The report urges:-
• The development of appropriate alternatives for drug
• Improving female-specific drug services in the community
and in custody
• An end to the expectation that the criminal justice system
will provide a quick fix to a complex problem
Vromen continued that too often women in prison and treatment
had a history of abuse and violence as the underlying cause of
their drug addiction.
“Drugs were a way to escape these memories,” she
said. “Understanding this is not about making excuses, it is
about ensuring that women get the right care and support to
overcome their addiction and limit relapse.
She concluded by calling on the government to redress the
increase in women’s imprisonment by focussing on their