Skip to content

Website cookies

This website uses cookies to help us understand the way visitors use our website. We can't identify you with them and we don't share the data with anyone else. If you click Reject we will set a single cookie to remember your preference. Find out more in our privacy policy.

News 25 September 2015

HRH The Duchess of Cambridge pays first visit to a prison

On Friday 25 September 2015, HRH the Duchess of Cambridge paid her first ever visit to a prison to see one of our dedicated addiction treatment centres in action.

RAPt is the largest provider of intensive, abstinence based addiction services in prisons in the UK and HMP Send is one of 26 prisons across the country where RAPt works.  Independent research shows that RAPt’s intensive treatment programme leads to a 65% reduction in reoffending (1).

The RAPt addiction treatment programme at HMP Send is the only intensive, 12-Step, prison based drug and alcohol programme for women in the country. The 16-21 week programme is based in a standalone unit where the women live.  It is tailored to support the needs of women with addiction who have often experienced deep trauma and need a specialised type of support to turn their lives around. The programme also focuses on building healthy relationships with partners, children and other family members. To date 450 women have graduated from the programme. 

During the visit the Duchess heard from some of the women prisoners about how they had become addicts and prisoners. They told her how the RAPt programme was helping them to overcome their addiction and become drug, alcohol and crime free.

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

The Duchess met with Lacey, who was a prisoner at HMP Send and took part in the RAPt programme in 2008.  She moved to an open prison in 2012 and was released in 2014. Lacey told the Duchess about her journey to recovery and the part that RAPt played in helping her overcome her addiction. She is now a Programme Manager for User Voice, a charity that works with ex-offenders and service providers to bring about positive change within the criminal justice system. She has returned to HMP Send for work a couple of times, got married last year and recently found out that she is expecting a baby. She expressed her gratitude for RAPt, “If it wasn’t for the RAPt programme and the support they have given me since, I would not be living this life I am now – one that is beyond my wildest dreams.”

Mike Trace, CEO of RAPt, said: “The work we do here at Send and in many prisons across the country shows that anyone is capable of real change.  We have helped thousands of people transform their lives to become fulfilled, hard-working and drug and crime free.  Many more could benefit from these services, along with their families, communities and wider society.  We’re immensely grateful to the Duchess for visiting our programme to help highlight these important and often hidden issues.”  

Caroline Dinenage, Justice Minister for Women and Equalities, said: “Helping women prisoners addicted to drugs or alcohol is a subject close to my heart and I am determined to do all I can to help them turn their lives around. RAPt do fantastic work at prisons across the country and I am very pleased to see the Duchess of Cambridge has been able to witness their good work in her first visit to a prison.”

Currently only 3% of drug dependent prisoners have access to RAPt’s full intensive rehabilitation treatment. For every 100 people completing the RAPt intensive rehabilitation treatment programme an estimated £6.3million is saved on reduced crime and re-sentencing.  Making the programme available to just 10% of drug dependent prisoners would equate to potential savings of £440million a year.