INSIDE A WOMEN'S PRISON
are facing overcrowding. The population of women's prisons has been
increasing dramatically. Sally Chidzoy was given unprecedented access
to Highpoint Prison in Suffolk.
are increasingly turning to crime, and
the country's female prison population has more than doubled since
gaols are reaching bursting point.
go inside Highpoint Prison and look at the personal stories of women
are about 200 women prisoners at Highpoint Prison.
life can be especially tough for women inmates|
majority (58%) are serving sentences for drug related offences compared
with 22% for male prisoners.
proportion of female prisoners (55%) are from ethnic groups, mostly
of the women prisoners at Highpoint are mothers. The
majority have children under 16 and many have seen their youngsters
taken into care.
a woman prisoner...
Brodie is 38 years old and she has spent 25 years of her life in
and out of prison. She's currently serving 16 months for handling
was raped in a children's home as a child, and her life went from
bad to worse.
developed a £1,000 a day drug habit and did credit card fraud
to pay for her daily fix.
Michelle explains,"I was on self destruct at the time. I just
couldn't stop. I was committing a lot of crime. I had a £1,000
a day crack habit."
half of women prisoners suffer from some form of personality
of prisoners are from the ethnic minority communities, 20%
of those are foreign nationals, mostly drug mules.
of the most famous prisoners at Highpoint is Myra Hindley
who is held in isolation away from other inmates.
been a rise in custodial sentences. Ten years ago, one in
26 women defendants were jailed, now it's one in 13.
I started taking crack I seemed to be ..... my criminality went
up and so did my drug habit. You know, things that I never thought
I'd do for drugs I did. People I never thought I'd rob for drugs,
think the judge actually said to me it was best for me to die and
I think he was probably right...."
started using alcohol at 11 and when I got to London I started using
is now determined to go straight after going through a year of drug
rehab. She's training to be a painter and decorator with help from
just want to be happy really. I haven't any long term goals - just
being drug free and having a life," says Michelle poignantly.
UK's prison crisis...
why are the numbers of women offenders on
prisoner's cell at Highpoint|
many women, their problems start early with a history of abuse,
drug use and violence.
Doolan, the Governor of Highpoint Prison highlights the crux of
think one of the major underlying causes is drug problems."
number of short sentenced women is rising particularly. We have
19 womens' prisons and very shortly they're all going to be full."
of the biggest challenges will be to accommodate this growth.