Duchess of Cambridge visits prison to speak with offenders affected by addiction

It is thought to be the Duchess's first visit to a prison

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The Independent Online

The Duchess of Cambridge visited a group of female offenders at an addiction treatment unit at HMP Send, in Surrey.

The engagement is the first time the Duchess has visited a prison.

She visited the RAPt (Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust) unit at the prison, which is the only centre in the country to have a six-month long, 12-step based programme for female prisoners. To date, 450 women have completed the programme.

The prison, near Guildford, which is a closed category institution was on “lock-down” when the Duchess arrived, according to Press Association.

The Duchess, who is a patron of the charity Action on Addiction, listened to offenders and ex-offenders testimonies about their experiences of addiction.

 

One offender who completed the RAPt programme recently and will be leaving the prison in December, 2016 spoke to the Duchess about beating her addiction and detailed her background of drug and alcohol abuse.

She told the Duchess she previously would “fund her habit by committing crimes which sent me to prison.”

According to PA, the Duchess congratulated the inmate on beating her addiction. The Duchess was also presented with presents for Prince George and Princess Charlotte, handmade by the inmates.

 

In a statement, the Duchess said: “I was reminded today how addictions lie at the heart of so many social issues and how substance misuse can play such a 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.”

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