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

    Comment number 890.

    @857.uʍop ǝpısdn

    Nah... she will be on next year's "I'm a celeb, get me out of here" where she will spend her entire time complaining about how sexist the world is before impying the reason she keeps getting the bushtucker tasks if due to the men forcing her to do it against her will.

  • rate this

    Comment number 889.

    @864. SallyPlanetZog
    I totally got that she's doing the book for charity... But I still wouldn't waste the money on the internet to illegally download the e-book of it :)

    I could just give the money to the prisoners charity and not have to read Vicky Prices attempt at a book.

  • rate this

    Comment number 888.


    Feminexeptionalism. I like it! It does exist and it's different to feminism.

    @756.Cynical Dave

    "Women make a blanket statement about men: equality."

    No it isn't. No one believes this is true, least of all feminists. Is is a classic statement from someone deliberately attempting to undermine feminism or ignorant poeple who belive the propaganda of the former group.

  • rate this

    Comment number 887.

    To quote The Shawshank Redemption:
    Red: You're gonna fit right in. Everyone in here is innocent, you know that? Heywood, what you in here for?
    Heywood: Didn't do it. Lawyer [redacted]'ed me.

  • rate this

    Comment number 886.

    Whilst it's certainly true that there are plenty of women trapped in abusive relationships, where they are abused and coerced into doing various things, sometime including crimes, for Vicky Price to even suggest or imply for a moment that she ever fell into that category is self-serving and offensive. She cynically tried the legal defence of marital coercion which was totally rejected by the jury.

  • rate this

    Comment number 885.

    Another self-publicist at work. Should not be given the air time or the column inches.

  • rate this

    Comment number 884.

    All very fascinating - if you like listening to the views of a convicted criminal.

    Can we have some actual news now?

  • rate this

    Comment number 883.

    Classic narcissist defence from Pryce. Starved of her supply of attention from the media she jumps onto the "men are to blame for everything" bandwagon.

    She needs to look in the mirror and realise what an ugly individual she is.

  • rate this

    Comment number 882.

    @864 SallyPlanetZog

    Does anything get past your hate of all things male? No man made her commit the crime. No man makes the majority of women commit any crime. They made a choice and got caught. We can all find someone to blame for our deeds. If women are incapable of independent thought or deed then they should indeed be subservient to men, cant have it both ways.

  • rate this

    Comment number 881.

    All the proceeds of her book are going to charity to help female ex-offenders back into work. I am sure you didn't just respond to the headline.. like 99.9% of the men in here.
    This article has nothing to do with money its an attempt by her to blame everything on her husband and she's using a charity and the other women in prison as a justification. Its pathetic

  • rate this

    Comment number 880.

    I agree some people are coerced by their partners\circumstances.
    But would Miss Pryce be as quick to suggest that the most successful women owe to it their partners..
    It seems a common theme by some apologists that womens triumphs are due to them overcoming, and their failures are due to others..
    Men however succeed unfairly and fail because we are men, flawed and weak.

  • rate this

    Comment number 879.

    Of course blame the men as you have to blame someone, right?

    Andy Dufresne: What about you? What are you in here for?
    Red: Murder, same as you.
    Andy Dufresne: Innocent?
    Red: [shakes his head] Only guilty man in Shawshank.

  • rate this

    Comment number 878.

    If ask women why they are in prison, they will blame men.
    If you ask men why they are in prison, they will blame women.
    If you ask me, it is all a load of BS.
    Just an excuse for a bitter women to try and rebuild her reputation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 877.

    It's common knowledge the reason Jeffrey Archer was put in jail was because of a woman. Jonathan Aitken attempted to use his wife and daughter to perjure themselves in his libel case.

  • rate this

    Comment number 876.

    240 Flashman - admittedly there are people in the UK who don't turn to crime even if they live in poverty etcetera as you say. But if you look at individual's lives ( I used to work as a qualified nurse in mental health) you can see that there may have been a specific person/ person's that kept them on the straight and narrow, or a mind set such as religion or spirituality, so they didn't fall.

  • rate this

    Comment number 875.

    @2 pique “women and men are in prison for what they did themselves.”

    Not always – that’s why our legal system includes an appeal court to correct mistakes.

    She should not have gone to prison for her crime. There are people who commit far worse offences and get off with much less. We need a national review of sentencing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 874.

    So what is she trying to say "its not their fault" why we give this women air time beggars belief I am simply not interested in her or her ex husband and their views. She has a criminal record and period of silence and some humility would be welcome.

  • rate this

    Comment number 873.

    What a load of crock.

    Men commit crimes because they are evil, women commit crimes because some evil man made them do it?

    Oh, yes, and Vicky Pryce claims used an absurd historically outdated defence that "my husband made me do it".

    The only surprise is that the BBC have given this nonsense any space.

  • rate this

    Comment number 872.

    @853 Personally I feel sorry for those men - but frankly, no - they should have stood up as well (as my post mentioned, visa versa). There are too many factors to consider to answer your comment in this HYS - but I ask all to consider the types of crime, level of manipulation etc. It all boils down to one thing - choice. We all need to learn to say no if we know it is wrong.

  • rate this

    Comment number 871.

    I thought women wanted to be equal? Doesn't that mean thinking for themselves? Making their own decisions? Womans hour are apparently going to campaign to get many of these easily coerced and unthinking creatures onto company boards (don't forget dearies that being on the board is only a matter of what school you went to and who you play golf with).


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