Ruth speaks from prison
JOHN BROCK and Ruth Wyner, two Cambridge charity workers, have been in prison six months this Saturday. They were jailed for four and five years respectively because, unbeknown to them, some users of the homeless day care centre they ran were dealing small quantities of drugs.
Ruth Wyner told Socialist Worker this week what this injustice has done to her: “My confidence in British justice has taken a severe knock. But I have been very heartened by the campaign for our release and it has helped me cope in jail.
The case has made people think a little harder about homelessness and drug addiction, and I hope it will energise further debate. People can help by highlighting the issue with their MP, local politicians and agencies, and trade unions.
I am very pleased that three major unions representing workers in the voluntary sector-UNISON, MSF and TGWU-are looking to put their weight behind the campaign. I’d like to tell the home secretary that it’s no good hoping that purely punitive methods will sort out the problems of homelessness and drug addiction. The war on drugs is not working. We need new approaches.
I hear that some other homelessness projects are becoming more reluctant to work with drug addicts because they fear arrests after what happened to us. I would like to know why I was attacked in this way. Perhaps I was too outspoken about homelessness for some people’s liking, and too effective.”
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