Vicky Pryce: Most women jailed due to men in their life

 
Vicky Pryce Vicky Pryce adopted a defence of marital coercion at her trial

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Most women in Holloway prison are there because of something the men in their life have done, recently jailed Vicky Pryce has told the BBC.

The former wife of ex-minister Chris Huhne was sentenced to eight months for perverting the course of justice after taking speeding points for him.

"I did something, I paid the price," she told Radio 4's Today programme.

The economist - who had claimed her husband coerced her - has written a book about the economics of prison.

Her royalties from the book will go to the charity Working Chance, which helps women with criminal convictions find work.

Pryce, who was recently stripped of her Companion of the Order of the Bath, served two months in the north London prison earlier this year.

Some women "were victims themselves" before they committed an offence, says Pryce

Huhne, the former energy secretary, was also jailed for the same offence.

He left Pryce in 2010 as his affair with PR adviser Carina Trimingham was about to be exposed.

During the former couple's trial, the court heard Pryce had revealed the speeding points scandal to newspapers in 2011 to seek revenge.

Asked whether she agreed with Chris Huhne's assessment that they had fallen victim to the Murdoch press, she said: "I don't begrudge anyone in terms of what's happened - or any of the journalists frankly - in my view one has to just look forward.

"I did something, I paid the price of it and that is it."

'Learn from it'

On the prospect of going to prison, Ms Pryce said she knew it was "something I simply had to survive and perhaps learn from it obviously, and see what goes on".

The worst aspect of prison life was "losing my liberty, but mostly worrying about my children - that they would be worried about me and how do I react to ensure that they feel that 'actually I'm ok'.

"And of course that meant that I also had to stay strong."

Holloway Prison Vicky Pryce spent part of her sentence in HMP Holloway in north London

On the claim in her book that many women in Holloway were there mostly because of something their husbands, brothers and fathers had done, she said: "Clearly they knew what they were doing but it didn't mean that they necessarily wanted to do what they did.

"Vulnerable women who often have lost their self esteem - they could be prostitutes, they could be people who are stealing to feed their, but also their other-half's, drug habits.

Start Quote

There's been a huge increase in the numbers of prisoners, although crime is going down”

End Quote Vicky Pryce

"More than 50% of women who enter jail have been physically, sexually, or emotionally abused. And those are statistics quoted by everybody.

"Of course you are [responsible for your actions] and they were. The thing to remember is that they were very vulnerable at the time they were doing it and they remain vulnerable.

"The interesting thing is that jail doesn't do anything to take that away from them and they leave prison after a while, go back into society and they find themselves in exactly the same position and they re-offend."

She said there had been surprises, such as Holloway's reception area which meant she hadn't felt "threatened" by entering it. "It felt that somebody worried about you," she said.

On how well the prison system was coping, she said: "There's been a huge increase in the numbers of prisoners, although crime is going down.

"The causality doesn't work that way. The causality works in a way that says in fact crime has been reducing because of things to do with technology - making it difficult to break into houses, difficult to break into cars - and all that sort of stuff, and yet the numbers have been going up very, very significantly.

"Women in particular, the numbers have gone up by 27% between 2000 and 2010, while crime has been coming down.

"It makes no sense at all. The costs are enormous. There are so many cheaper ways to deal with this whole issue, which is what the Prisonomics book is all about."

 

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  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 830.

    How utterly pathetic this woman is. Its not as if she is stupid (????). she has a good brain just unable to use it. She took a choice...marital coercion....just don't believe it and I'm not surprised he had an affair and divorced......sour and bitter!

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 829.

    All criminals have someone or something to blame.

    That's the culture we live in nowadays "It wasn't my fault, it was X, Y or even Z"

    No one accepts personal responsibility anymore

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 828.

    And men only commit crimes for women.....

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 827.

    @ 813.chris3234
    She's trying to salvage her reputation and exploit her well deserved time in prison to make herself a new career. Like she gave damn before she was sent down. She deserves nothing but contempt. It's nothing to do with politics its everything to do with what's right and what's despicable and exploitive.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 826.

    Remember the program grumpy old men and grumpy old women. The men were concerned about technology, driving standards and hairy ears. The grumpy women spent every episode complaining about men, I remember how struck I was by this at the time You can imagine the lags sitting about in Holloway....he said, he did, he didn't he he he...?

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 825.

    795.darren
    "I take it comprehension isn't one of your strong points?"

    I understood perfectly Daz, is that ok with you? Is it ok if I speak? Pointless trying to justify that anti-female comment now, isn't it .. You also described a woman who was married for 26 years, with two children, as a misandrist and so no you do not have a clue what a misandrist actually is.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 824.

    eww, surely 'this' was once a man. that picture is horrifying.

    on topic: a liar, who honestly gives a damn about her opinion anyway? why is this news?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 823.

    805.widgeon

    What would be more interesting would be commentary on why women choose to attach themselves to the most dangerous and obnoxious men they can find.
    ---

    That's easy, because they're sure darn sexy.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 822.

    621.
    EastAnglian
    'that we treat driving normally so harshly that people are tempted to go to such lengths to escape detection shows how totally out of touch with reality speed limits, police and magistrates are'

    Most speeding drivers do escape detection. They are caught so rarely that they feel suprised and put out when it happens.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 821.

    Talk about sensationalist headline to provoke a reaction. You could have picked this as the headline, from same article:-
    ''"Of course you are [responsible for your actions] and they were''
    Shock horror, Vicky Price believes prisoners are responsible for their actions.
    Puts a totally different spin on it..

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 820.

    "widgeon
    What would be more interesting would be commentary on why women choose to attach themselves to the most dangerous and obnoxious men they can find"

    In my (albeit limited) experience hubris is not something that people in their youth have (or manifests as confidence) but something that develops during a career when someone believes that what they have achieved is solely their own work.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 819.

    Vicky Pryce should be sent back to prison for such an absurd comment.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 818.

    Why are any of the press giving this woman the time of day, I just don't understand it.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 817.

    This person is a convicted criminal. She should NOT be given the oxygen of publicity on anything relating to her conviction. The fact she is giving the proceeds for her book to charity is irrelevant. She will benefit financially in lots of other ways and it should not be permitted.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 816.

    "The truth about men" by Vicky Pryce

    Now there's a work of fiction if ever I saw one!!

  • Comment number 815.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 814.

    "It's your fault I've got a new pair of shoes, it was your money I bought them with!"

    "Sorry dear."

  • rate this
    -11

    Comment number 813.

    As usual the right wing are coming out fighting. This woman has done wrong, she has paid the price and holds her hands up. She is now doing something positive about it. She is not making excuses, she is actually trying to make things better and using her experience to highlight a problem we choose to ignore. Why is this so wrong?

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 812.

    So it's a mans fault or their upbringing. Don't they ever take responsibility for their own actions or is someone else always to blame?

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 811.

    One could easily try to claim the same thing in reverse. But in reality, adults need to take responsibility for their actions. Pryce pressed the self destruct button on herself in a bitter attempt at revenge on her husband. Blaming her man is weak; they are both responsible for their own actions. Pryce is pathetic, I just wish she'd spent longer in jail. If she wasn't priviliged she would have.

 

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    A selection of comments from Politics Live readers on the TV debates

    Rather than what broadcasters or what political parties want regarding debates, what about what the electorate wants?

    The debates at the last election and the Scottish referendum debates were widely watched and helped reconnect the public with the political process. They took leaders out of their ivory towers and made them more accountable to the people they are supposed to lead.

    Cameron refusing to take part in debates shows his contempt for this process and a fear of public scrutiny. I really think the Tories have made a major error of judgement here, the electorate will not be gentle.

    Ged Roddam

    The prime minister has stated he only wants one debate. It is not the broadcasters who should pressurise otherwise. They need to respect his position on this, as do the other parties who are name calling.

    Broadcasters would not be pressurising the CEO of a large company on how to run their business...

    Sara Brewer

    Do you agree? Email is politics@bbc.co.uk with your views.

     
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  54.  
    07:06: Telegraph on debates The Daily Telegraph

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  55.  
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  56.  
    @NickyMorgan01 Nicky Morgan, minister for women

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  57.  
    06:55: 'Move Parliament to Manchester' The Guardian

    Earlier this week, we reported Commons Speaker John Bercow saying the Houses of Parliament may have to be "abandoned" within 20 years without extensive repair work. There have been a number of suggestions on possible alternatives. Today, Simon Jenkins writes in the Guardian that Parliament should be moved to Manchester, arguing it would be good for democracy.

     
  58.  
    06:51: Broadcasters 'pressing ahead' Norman Smith BBC Assistant Political Editor

    "Talking to some of those involved last night, my impression at the moment, is the broadcasters are intent on toughing this one out... They do not think that one 90-minute debate involving eight parties in the next fortnight or so is acceptable. They do not think it is acceptable one party should have the power to veto what goes ahead. As things stand they are intent on pressing ahead with the debates as currently scheduled."

     
  59.  
    06:42: Cameron's debate plans Norman Smith BBC Assistant Political Editor

    Our correspondent has been analysing last night's big debate news.

    The effect is to swing a huge wrecking ball in the direction of the broadcasters' plans for these TV debates, he says. It may demolish all hopes for a debate to be held, or may leave one "paltry" 90-minute debate later this month.

    The clear view of Downing Street is that this is the fault of broadcasters, who they accuse of coming forward with proposals without consultation, to a timetable that was never going to be acceptable, and of failing to get the parties to get together for meaningful negotiations, our correspondent says.

     
  60.  
    06:39: TV debate reaction
    HuffPo

    There is plenty of reaction around to Downing Street's one-debate proposal. Including this, which leaves little doubt as to where the Huffington Post stands on the issue.

     
  61.  
    06:30: Scotland Ashcroft poll

    In other political news you may have missed from last night, a poll suggested the SNP could win Gordon Brown's seat - Kircaldy and Cowdenbeath - at the election in May. The poll by Lord Ashcroft also suggested Charles Kennedy, the former Liberal Democrat leader, could also lose his seat to the nationalists. It's the latest polling which suggests the SNP could make significant gains on 7 May.

     
  62.  
    06:25: The papers
    Daily Telegraph front page - 05/03/15

    Downing Street's announcement that the prime minister will only take part in one TV debate ahead of the election features in several papers, with The Daily Telegraph describing it as an "ultimatum" to broadcasters. The BBC's Alex Kleiderman has the full round-up of the nationals here.

     
  63.  
    06:20: Child benefit changes? BBC Newsnight BBC Two, 22:30

    The BBC has learned the Conservatives are considering limiting child benefit to three children. As Newsnight reported last night, the Treasury has "softened" to the idea, which could save an estimated £300m a year.

     
  64.  
    06:15: Debate bombshell
    Leaders

    In case you missed it, there was a significant development last night on the TV leaders debates, after Downing Street wrote to broadcasters to make a "final offer" of only one debate with seven, possibly eight, leaders. Other parties criticised the PM, accusing him of "acting like a chicken" and the broadcasters have said they will respond to the proposal in due course. Expect more reaction on this story this morning.

     
  65.  
    06:10: Good morning

    Hello and welcome to a fresh Thursday's political coverage. Nick Eardley and Matthew Davis will bring you all the action, reaction and analysis in text and you'll be able to watch and listen to all the main BBC political programmes, from Today and Breakfast through to Newsnight and Today in Parliament. Don't forget you can get in touch by emailing politics@bbc.co.uk or via social media @bbcpolitics. Here's how Wednesday unfolded.

     

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