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Duchess of Cambridge moved by inmates' stories on prison visit

By Tony Jones

Published 26/09/2015

The Duchess of Cambridge has heard the moving stories of former female drug addicts during her first visit to a prison.

Kate thanked the group for speaking about their experiences during a trip to HMP Send to learn more about a unique programme tackling substance abuse among women prisoners.

In a bid to break the destructive cycle, they eat, sleep and receive treatment within a self-contained building at the Surrey prison, run by the charity RAPt (Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust).

The Duchess was told one disturbing story from an ex-offender, who had found syringes under her drug addict father's bed when a small child.

Kate listened intently as Kirsty (36), a former heroin and crack addict, said: "I remember finding a margarine tub under my dad's bed and it had syringes in it, and knowing what they were for - I must have been five or six - so it was normalised."

Speaking about the Duchess's reaction to the story, Kirsty said afterwards: "She was saddened; anybody would be, it's not nice for anybody to hear that anybody was in that situation."

Dave Charity, the prison's deputy governor, said: "She was really interested in what the women had to say and understood all the issues, she was really taken aback by the women's stories."

The Duchess is patron of the charity Action on Addiction.

Send was in lockdown for Kate's visit and the women she met were not told who their special guest was until around half-an-hour before she arrived.

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