Incarcerating drug abusing women is inappropriate, report finds

    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
    Women’ campaign.

    The report urges:-

    • The development of appropriate alternatives for drug
    abusing offenders

    • 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
    needs.

    Report from
    www.drugscope.org.uk/uploads/homepage/documents/usingwomen.htm

     

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