Today, The Duchess of Cambridge visited a women’s prison addiction programme at HMP Send to see the work of the Rehabilitation of Addicted Prisoners Trust.
Catherine, who has taken an interest in addiction, spoke with prisoners about their personal experience with addiction. For many, almost half, it is estimated, drugs or alcohol played a role in their breaking the law.
The RAPT addiction treatment programme is the only 12-step prison-based drug and alcohol programme for women in the country, though the trust works with 26 prisons. It is tailored to support the needs of these women with addiction, many of whom have experienced deep trauma and need specialist support to build a positive and crime free life.
The main focus of the programme is building healthy relationships with partners, children and other family members after the traumatic experience and damaging impact of addiction and crime, around which Kate’s visit was based today. Treatment starts as soon as a prisoner joins the programme, and even after release; this includes help finding a home or job following their rehabilitation.
The Duchess is patron of charity Action on Addiction and Place2Be, the latter of which RAPT has worked closely with. Catherine also got the chance to speak with former inmates who had battled addiction, as well as ‘graduates’ of the RAP programme, who benefitted from its support during their time in prison. The women spoke about their journey to recovery and how the programme has subsequently helped them live a drug and crime-free life.
The trust says that over two thirds of those who have completed the programme are still drug and alcohol free three months after release from prison.
The mother-of-two said of her visit:
“I was reminded today how addictions lie at the heart of so many social issues and how substance misuse can play such destructive role in vulnerable people’s lives. I saw again today that a failure to intervene early in life to tackle mental health problems and other challenges can have profound consequences for people throughout their lives.
“I am grateful to the women I met for sharing their difficult personal stories with me. It is encouraging to learn how organisations like RAPT are offering specialist support to help people break the cycle of addiction and look forward to a positive and crime free life.”