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 910.

    This is a woman who can't bring her self to admit she is Greek and is obviously embarrassed by her real name Vasiliki Courmouzis. Is it a wonder if she fails on these simple truths that all hope is lost in anything else worthy coming form her

  • rate this

    Comment number 909.


    Actually it is an interesting question whether it is applied to men or women. Mapping why people commit crime. It opens up lots of interesting avenues, should drugs be legalized, should non-violent offenders be sent to prison etc. The anti-female comments on this blog miss the point and merely demonstrate how ignorant some men are.

  • rate this

    Comment number 908.

    On the subject of criminality, I hope that John Humphreys, having tried to get an interview with Golden Dawn, will be equally assiduous in trying to speak with the CEO of global usurers, Goldman Sacks, to discuss their (great) part in the plundering of the Greek economy. If he finds the CEO evasive, he could always speak to Stephanie Flanders, who now works for them and can probably open doors.

  • rate this

    Comment number 907.

    890.John Knee
    "Nah... she will be on next year's "I'm a celeb, get me out of here" "

    Looking at the photo, I'd ask myself who would be the more horrified - her or some grub from the undergrowth.

    There wouldn't be much point in putting her on "I'm a celeb" if all the bugs and creepies just ran away.

  • rate this

    Comment number 906.

    More feminist claptrap from the BBC.

  • Comment number 905.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 904.

    This is simply because most judges happen to be men.

    No bias - purely a statistical fact.

  • Comment number 903.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 902.

    Got to blame someone, never there fault. She was wrong and got caught. She could have said no.

  • rate this

    Comment number 901.

    Heard her on Victoria Derbyshire this morning on 5Live, simply shocking waste of broadcasting time, refusing to answer any of Victorias questions on her crime as well as engaging in a media campaign to satisfy her need for revenge on her cheating husband. Purely on to sell her squalid book, BBC you need to have a look at terminating interviews when someone refuses to answer legitimate questions.

  • rate this

    Comment number 900.

    She lied about the speeding to police.

    Then she lied again when she said she was bullied into it by her ex.

    This is not about women being bullied by men but about her career.

  • Comment number 899.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 898.

    Why was she sent to prison in the first place? No danger to society here a steep fine and community service would have done, she could have written a book about that. Alternatively she could have been deported back to Greece where they need her skills that would have solved the costs issue! By the way: she spent less than a week in Holloway most of her 9 week sentence was in East Sutton Park Kent.

  • rate this

    Comment number 897.


    I presume Ms Price will use some of the royalties and profits from sales of this book to repay the overstretched prison service for bed and board seeing how she is making an income from her incarceration. A donation to a charity...


    If you bothered to READ the article, that's exactly what she's doing:

    "royalties from the book will go to the charity Working Chance"

  • rate this

    Comment number 896.

    John Knee 853. Women are getting battered on a daily basis by their partners, their pimps and by other men and standing up to them would mean more of the same or worse. People should really examine facts about abuse (of both genders) before stating such ignorant rubbish.

  • rate this

    Comment number 895.

    Never had any time for Chris but not surprised he had an affair if he'd been living with her. She just beggars belief with her anti male least he got a divorce in time before she lived out her nature as a black widow...venomous! Women are all saints and men are all demons...I don't think so. We are all responsible and a lot of men have poor backgrounds/upbringing too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 894.

    One could strongly argue that most men are jailed due to women.

  • rate this

    Comment number 893.

    I smell a suggestion here that some how women have less cognetive and perception skills and ability of REALISATION. There are allways Cause & Effect, and both genders equally have both.

  • rate this

    Comment number 892.

    perjury will get you nowhere

  • rate this

    Comment number 891.

    The complete irony is that she would have got away with it if she hadn't been so spiteful!
    She wanted to see her ex-husband ruined and was so taken by rage and revenge she couldn't see she was going to take the fall with him.
    She doesn't regret doing the crime, what she regrets is letting her emotions get the better of her in her quest for revenge.
    Sorry Vik, you shot yourself in the foot.


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