Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Free Joanne Peacher - and Gaol Susan Downing

Joanne Peacher is in prison in Yorkshire when  what she really needs is support and treatment. Joanne was born in Glasgow in 1968 and spent the first seventeen years of her life in care of Social Services. Joanne says that while in "care" she was sexually molested twice, by women, and once by a male priest. One of them raped her with a billiard cue. She never got any sympathy, help or counselling for this. Her husband says that when she complained a care worker roughed her up and broke her leg.
Joanne married and has two children of her own, but she developed mental health problems and her children were also taken into care, despite their father wanting to keep them. This is a sad spiral of deprivation and damage.
The NHS tried to treat Joanne's issues with medication, but her problems grew worse. Twice she rang up the police and reported that she had a bomb. Last week she was convicted and sent to prison for six months.
Surely what Joanne needs is treatment, Her behaviour was a cry for help, a symptom of her condition, Sending her to prison will do nothing to help her or us.

You can write to Joanne at Her Majesty's Prison NEWHALL New Hall Way, Flockton, Wakefield, West Yorkshire WF4 4AX 

Contrast that with the treatment of Susan Downing, a professional social worker in charge of child welfare. While high on drugs she hosted an all-night party where children as young as 13 were given cocaine and vodka. And she has been given only a suspended sentence.
Susan Downing, 37, who was said to be ‘gurning with her jaw swinging’ during the party, pleaded guilty to allowing her house to be used for the supply of cocaine, amphetamines and cannabis. Neighbours said that these parties were going on all the time, yet a judge accepted excuses. She was given a two-year suspended jail term after claiming she had been ‘stressed’ at the time..
A 13-year-old schoolboy and a girl aged 15 who were at the 5am party in Rishton, Lancashire, said they drank vodka at the party then were given cocaine to sniff through a straw and one snorted it off a key.
Downing has not lost her job as a social worker, merely been moved from "child protection" to responsibility for housing the homeless.
Who should be in gaol, this woman or Joanne Peacher?

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