Series 5 Factsheets
Phyl and Bev's arrival on G wing provides a little bit of relief from the high drama of Snowball's escape, Richie's shooting and Bobby's suicide. Clearly accustomed to staying in rather more luxurious accommodation they have immediately set about making Larkhall into what they want it to be, rather than adjusting. Their naïve appearance as they staggered off the bus was quickly shown to be something of a front as their suitcases were laden down with gin. The bottled gin was confiscated in reception (of course) to loud protests from Phyl and Bev, but they were clued up enough to have a whole lot more in bottles and tubes form Bev's art kit. This presumably is why the Prison Service is so cautious about allowing personal possessions to be brought into the prison - nearly everything has to bought from prison earnings or 'private cash' which is money sent in by friends or relatives from outside prison. Prison wages and private cash can be spent in the prison canteen, which is actually a shop selling toiletries, confectionary and other bits and pieces but definitely no gin, or from mail order catalogues.
Although assessment and treatment programmes for drug users going into prison have been well developed over the last ten years, alcohol treatment has lagged far behind. It is estimated that about two out of every five women in prison have an alcohol problem, and this is even higher for male prisoners. Alcohol is often related to offending because some people become more violent when drunk. The Prison Service is developing an alcohol strategy and improvements to services for problem drinkers should follow. Dependency To Work is a scheme which is trying to help prisoners with alcohol and drug problems to leave that behind and get employment on release. Their website will tell you more:
As far as Phyl and Bev are concerned their main drink related problem right now is maintaining their supply of gin and getting their hands on enough tonic water and fresh lemon. They seem prepared to do without ice. Principal Officer Fenner is, as usual, very corruptible and will undoubtedly help them - at a price. It would be daft to suggest that alcohol never gets into prisons via staff breaking the rules, but more usually prisoners try the home-brew route, making anything (yes, anything) that will ferment into 'hooch'. This sort of hooch is not like the alcopop of the same name. Making hooch is strictly forbidden ( and dangerous as it is possible to make the wrong sort of alcohol and end up blind or even dead) and the Prison Service takes tough action against prisoners found to be brewing and selling hooch.
For further information on the issues covered in this section, please visit The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies website.