Drugs and Prison—What Can be Done?
With drugs in prisons recently getting some notice after BBC’s Panorama documentary on HMP Northumberland, it is interesting to note what is being talked about.
Of course, the first outrage from most people is ‘How is it so easy to get drugs into our prisons?’ The second is ‘What rules or procedures need to be stiffened to stop this from occurring?’
What hasn’t been talked about to the same degree is why the prisoners feel such a need for drugs. It seems people see that as inevitable, but is that correct?
If prison is supposed to be a place of reform, then that should include addressing any addiction or dependency, including why these drugs were being taken in the first place.
It should also include caring for prisoners in a way that does not become a mind-numbing monotony but rather teaches life skills, and addresses reasons that people may turn to drugs, and help for them to find positive alternatives.
Prison can become a long period of unstructured tedium that does not include enough mental or physical stimulation. Psychoactive drugs like cannabis or spice can induce sleep, alter perception or even induce unconsciousness. In this way taking drugs in prison can be a means of escaping the reality that a prisoner finds himself in, or easing the lack of stimulation with an ‘escape’.
Drugs become a chemical comfort to help a prisoner deal with a multitude of issues including loneliness, stress, isolation, boredom and trauma. So rather than only looking at how to make it harder to get drugs into prisons, maybe we should also start looking at the purpose of prison, and what we want to achieve by having a person incarcerated. Should it be tedious, or should skills be learned to help the prisoner interact with people better after prison, to find it easier to get a job? I know what I feel! What about you?
For help for yourself or a loved one regarding drug addiction, contact us.
Now is the time to take action, before something like prison starts looming around the corner.