Many people assume that those who are sent to prison for crimes committed while addicted to drugs will at least get the help they need when behind bars. They believe that once off the streets, these individuals will have access to addiction treatment and will leave prison clean and sober. However, this is not always the case. In fact, many people who are placed behind bars for substance-related crimes will find they have access to even harder drugs while inside, and many will be unable to break free from their addictions. This is what happened to James Henry, who was able to continue with his drug consumption while in prison and who was still addicted when released.
It is easy to assume that addicts will have their drug or alcohol supply cut off when in prison, but the reality is that drug use is rife in UK prisons and many of those incarcerated will get caught up a cycle of abuse as they try to cope with life behind bars.
For Henry, who was sent to prison for dealing drugs, there was no access to addiction treatment, and he continued to abuse substances while inside. Upon early release from prison on licence, he began dealing once more, this time to get money for his unborn child.
His solicitor Stephen Robinson said, “He left prison following his previous sentence with the best of intentions, but wasn’t helped by the fact he was still addicted to drugs. He managed to obtain access to those in custody, so he never put his drug addiction behind him. He started selling drugs again, firstly to fund that addiction, but also to provide for a child he’s expecting.”
He went on to say, “He had the noble intention of providing properly for that child. He has not seen his own father since the age of two; he wants to be a proper father to the child he’s expecting shortly. He wanted a proper job. But he was late for an appointment and was sanctioned by the benefits agency, and he gave in to temptation and turned to something he knew well, and something he knew would provide money. A noble intention turned deeply sour.”
It is easy for those with no experience of addiction to say that those who take drugs or drink alcohol to excess should just ‘stop’. It is far less simple for those affected by this illness to do so. In fact, those who are affected by addiction are unable to see the logic of their situation.
These individuals may know that they should not take drugs or drink alcohol because it will cause them harm, but they are unable to resist and cannot think logically. In the case of James Henry, his addiction to drugs led him to believe that it would be a good idea to turn to dealing to provide for his unborn child.
According to Judge Simon Jack, “It’s ironic you were selling drugs in order to do right by your child when the effect of that is to deprive your child of your presence for a good number of years. That shows a lack of thinking skills on your part.”
Henry was sentenced to six years after being caught drug dealing, with evidence of this found at his home. Along with crack cocaine, police found cash, cannabis, mobile phones, digital scales, and a stolen bicycle.
Henry initially denied dealing and said that the drugs were for his own consumption and that he used the scales to make sure his dealer was not ripping him off. He was released on bail, but when police visited another property, they found cocaine, heroin, blue tablets, green tablets and ‘vegetable matter’.
He eventually admitted three offences; handling stolen goods, possession of cannabis and possession of Class A drugs with intent to supply. When sentencing him, Judge Jack said there were ‘severe aggravating features’ considering that he had previous convictions for similar crimes and that he committed the second set of crimes while out on police bail and licence.
Many believe that those who take illegal drugs should have access to addiction treatment rather than be prosecuted. Nevertheless, those who commit crimes such as drug dealing have to be punished for their actions.
Timely access to addiction treatment, however, may help to prevent a number of crimes and there are those who believe this is the answer. Here at UKAT, we know that with the right addiction treatment and support from fully qualified professionals, anyone can beat an addiction to alcohol or drugs. If you are in need of help, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us now. We offer excellent treatment programmes in a comfortable and secure environment, and our success rates speak for themselves. Call today for further information.
Source: Convicted Hull dealer James Henry sold drugs again ‘to provide for his unborn child’ (Hull Daily Mail)
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