The Big Question

Len Smith

Gypsy activist

I have never thought it right to imprison women, except for the
most violent of crimes. That said, if support systems are not in
place or inaccessible to an addict in the “outside world”, then it
may be actually helpful to imprison women (or anyone) where the
confined regime, allied to drug rehabilitation, might be an

Shaun Webster

Change self-advocacy group

It is wrong to put women in prison who have drug problems
because they could get drugs from outside which can make things
worse. They need to go to a hostel and discuss their problems. They
might have been abused and that’s why they take drugs. They
need counselling and not prison. Prison can make things worse.

Kierra Box

Youth activist

Prevention is better than cure, treatment better than
punishment. It’s a bad thing that women with drug problems
are sent to prison. I don’t think you can help someone by
punishing them. They may have made a bad decision in the past, but
they should be helped to overcome it in proper treatment centres
outside the prison system.

Angie Lawrence

Single mother

Drug abuse ought to be considered a social problem rather than a
legal problem. Alcoholics don’t go to prison unless
they’ve committed a crime and drug misusers ought to be
considered in the same light. More treatment and support are needed
in the community. Where prison is justified, there should be proper
facilities inside.

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