Following a conversation I has with the course leader and The University of Worcester, I have spent the weekend tirelessly composing my personal statement for the Applied Criminology course. Reading, researching and writing this has really got me thinking, why am I doing this, why do I want to study criminology, what about it interests me and where do I want it to take me?
This statement has been edited, proof read, emailed back and forth to various people all offering me a helping hand, so thank you all. It really means a lot to me. I feel like I have been in front of the laptop for a life time, its all worth my eyes hurting me though.
Having witnessed a good 15 years of serious drug abuse and a life time of mental health problems and of course my own personal experience of the CJS, I have gained a strong understanding of things being put in place for peoples protection but I have also witnessed, experienced and felt so many of these failing miserably. All of my life I have had to fight for not only myself but for the proper care and help close family members have needed. I am 26 and for the 26 years of my life it has been a battle, and to this day, it still is and I have no idea when it will end or even if it will end. The only thing I can do, is keep moving forward.
For me, moving forward means I raise awareness of every single system that I have witnessed failing people. Not because I like doing so but because it is important for these systems to recognise what they do, doesn’t work. For my own privacy and the benefit of my family I wont use real names, but the experiences are a true recollection of events in my life.
A close family member who battled with heroin addiction for a massive part of my life, ended up with serious mental health problems. Can you imagine reading hand written notes from a person, stating what the FRIDGE had SAID to them. Well, for me, this was a daily read. Like a newspaper. I was constantly calling this family members drug worker to inform them of what was going on in a house that was only lived in by the said person. How safe is it, for this person to be living alone, thinking the fridge is talking to them. Not only that, they thought that some one had bugged their ears with a tracking device, like, literally thought someone, without them realising, had put something inside of their ear. You couldn’t talk in the house our of fear of being recorded, 100’s and 100’s of pages were written about what the fridge, cooker and car had been saying to this person. I am laughing now just recalling some of the things, the fridge said. The drug workers we shocking in dealing with this state of mental health and drug abuse. Obviously, if someone is going to take drugs, I know full well that nothing anyone can do will stop them. That goes without saying. Regardless of that, their should be a duty of care. I was actively urging the drug workers to assess this family members mental health as I feared their safety and other peoples safety may be at risk. I would call them, go to their office and show them what I was reading, tell them what I was seeing and urging them to act. Before something life changing happened.
It took months before anyone took this situation seriously, in the mean time the said persons state was drastically worsening before my eyes. I was a teenage girl, witnessing such damage and screaming for help and nobody was helping me or this person. It was absolutely infuriating. Many of times I considered washing my hands of this said person, as I know, you can not save a person who doesn’t want to be saved and sometimes the fight was just too much for me. With that being said, I understood that addicts are just that, addicted. They have no logical thinking, no consideration to the hurt and trauma they are causing and in this case, they had no proper support. The actions and intentions of this said person, were never bad. It was simply a person who had been completely stolen by heroin and any other drug they could get their hands on. That is why I continued to fight, because I had no choice. With family support and constant phone calls to drug workers and mental health teams, we finally got this family member sectioned.
It shouldn’t have been my job, as a teenager, to make this happen. I am not qualified in drug rehabilitation nor am I qualified in assessing mental health. However, those people who’s job it was, to do that, didn’t do it.
Following this family member being sectioned, a whole new insight to the care of people with mental health problems was witnessed. A huge concern when the patient is trying to discharge themselves and the hospital is allowing it!!! After the whole battle to get this to happen, we now had another fight to make sure that the person remained where they needed to be. This is what I mean, when I say my battles are never ending. There was a meeting where the said patient fought their case to leave and then another family member there, who fought for the continued care of the patient. Thankfully, the sane one, won. The patient remained in the care of the hospital.
A day release on Christmas day, I will never forget this. So, the said family member came home for Christmas, proceeded up stairs and returned some time later, obviously out of their face on heroin. I called the hospital and told them, said person was home and taking hard core drugs, the woman said ‘they cant be doing that, they have subutex’ ???? Um….YES they can, they just have and I am calling you to TELL YOU, they have done it. She proceeded to tell me, this was impossible. Yet, I had just seen it happen. After a bit of a heated discussion, the woman on the other end of the phone actually hung up on me. Upon delivering said person back to their care, I left in the hands of another family member to inform the hospital staff of what we had witnessed that day.
To date, it is still an ongoing process to ensure the said family member is on the straight and narrow, receiving the proper treatment they need and support from services that need to support them. I think, this will always be on going.
Not that I would wish this, but it still should raise concern, that as a child I was put in a position to witness and live with this. Prison was horrible but no where near as horrible as seeing this happen before my very eyes, day to day, year to year.
So, my application to study criminology will hopefully end up, with me, being in a position to help not only people who have been involved in the CJS and the prison system, but also to be of some support and help to anyone who has experienced and witnessed drug abuse and mental health issues. I’ve seen it all, I’m still sane, alive, motivated and with enough drive and hard work, I know I can make a change.