This is an article by a journalist we know called Amie Ferris-Rotman, who recently covered our World AIDS Day 2011 protest at Russian Embassies around the world. It is a story you rarely hear, about women who use heroin/opium in Afghanistan. Shunned by society and often beaten if discovered, these women have got a lot to hide. It is hard enough being a dependent heroin user in any city in the world but to be a woman in Afghanistan, trying to support a habit with children, hiding it from everyone you know, not allowed out on your own -let alone allowed out to score -it must be unimaginably difficult. Heroin is always a bit of relief in any situation where things look really hopeless, so it is no wonder it catches on in a country where there have been 3 generations of war. Detering hunger, giving one a sense of purpose, permitting on to put things off til tomorrow, what they just couldnt possibly do today anyway, heroin is the perfect drug, post war. There are  no numbers to detect just how many women are addicted to opiates in Afghanistan, and sadly we also know the rise of pharmaceuticals on the black market has risen exponentially since the most recent war, with thousands of people buying blackmarket antidepressants, sleeping pills etc, to try and stave off nightmares, PTSD, depression and trauma. Medecin Du Monde do an amazing job as an NGO providing the only methadone clinic available in Kabul, in the whole of Afghanistan. Government officials seem loathe to roll it out further claiming fears of another opiate appearing on the street. Thanks to Amie for writing this up. The website where it appeared is also really interesting; TRUST.ORG is a gateway website to the services of Thompson Reuters Foundation, dedicated to empowering people in need with trusted information.  This story appeared under the TRUSTLAW.ORG section, which is a global hub of free legal assistance, news and info on good governance and womens rights. Amie’s article appears on the website here.
A drug addict waits for her turn to see doctors at the Nejat drug rehabilitation centre, REUTERS/Ahmad Masood

By Amie Ferris-Rotman

KABUL, April 1 (Reuters) – Anita lifted the sky-blue burqa from her face, revealing glazed eyes and cracked lips from years of smoking opium, and touched her saggy belly, still round from giving birth to her seventh child a month ago.

“I can’t give breast milk to my baby,” said the 32-year-old Anita, who like other women interviewed for this story, declined to give her full name. “I’m scared he’ll get addicted

She was huddled with other women at the U.N.-funded Nejat drug rehabilitation center in the old quarter of Kabul, having sneaked out of her home to avoid being stopped by her husband from going outside alone.

With little funding and no access to substitution drugs such as methadone, treatment is rudimentary at Nejat for a problem that is growing in a dirt-poor country riven by conflicts for more than three decades.

Afghanistan is the source for more than 90 percent of the world’s opium, which is used to make heroin, and more of it is being grown than ever before.

While it is not uncommon to see men shooting up along the banks of the dried of up Kabul riverbed in broad daylight, women in the ultra-conservative culture of Muslim Afghanistan are expected to stay out of public view for the most part. They often have to seek permission from a male relative or husband to leave their home, and when they do they are encased in the head-to-toe burqa.

“I am not allowed to leave home for medical checks. What can I do? I am a woman,” Anita said matter of factly.

Like many of Afghanistan’s female drug users, Anita picked up the habit from her husband.

Like other women interviewed for this story, Anita asked that only her first name be used. Shrouded in stigma, female drug users is a topic that is almost never mentioned in Afghanistan.

They agreed to tell their stories to a reporter only through an intermediary they trusted.


Opium poppy cultivation in a country that has been growing the plant for a thousand years increased 7 percent in 2011 from the year before, due to a spike in prices and worsening security, according to a survey sponsored by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

In 2011, the farm-gate value of opium production more than doubled from 2010 to $1.4 billion and now accounts for 15 percent of the Afghan economy, the UNODC says.

Opiate consumption in Afghanistan, where it has long been a medication but in recent years has been used increasingly for recreation, is also on a sharp rise. The UNODC says Afghanistan has around one million heroin and opium addicts out of a population of 30 million, making it the world’s top user per capita.

No estimates are available on how many women are addicted to opium or heroin. Nejat estimates around 60,000 women in Afghanistan regularly take illegal drugs, including hashish and marijuana.

“There has been a definite increase amongst women drug users over the last decade,” said Arman Raoufi, director of harm reduction for women at Nejat.

Smoking opium costs around 200 Afghanis a day ($4), a very expensive habit in a country where a third live beneath the poverty line. Women send their children to collect scrap and bottles to help pay for their habit, or resort to begging, extending a hand to cars from beneath their burqa on busy streets when their husbands have left home.

“My husband took on a second wife and began to ignore me, so I started to smoke his powder (opium) and now must beg,” said Fauzia, 30, a petite mother of five sitting in the corner of Nejat, her embroidered floral slippers poking out from under her baggy trousers. She said she was terrified that her husband and male relatives might discover she was seeking treatment on her own at the center.

Treatment options are sorely limited. A pilot project launched two years ago by Medecins du Monde, which gives methadone to drug addicts, is the only one in the country.

The National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) wants to roll it out across the country, but the Ministry of Counter-narcotics has objected, saying it would introduce yet another narcotic onto the black market.


With her five-year-old son tugging on her unwashed burqa, 30-year-old Najia said she has smoked opium for nine years.

“It is so hard for me. I have kids. I’m poor. I’m not able to work — my husband won’t allow me,” said the raven-haired mother of four.

Najia said she picked up the habit from her husband after he returned from his job as a labourer in neighbouring Iran.

Raoufi at the Nejat center says the return of migrant workers and refugees, who fled to Iran and Pakistan during the Soviet occupation of the 1980s, and the bloody civil war and Taliban rule that followed, is the main reason behind the rise in female drug addicts.

Increased street prostitution since the fall of the Taliban, which policed the trade more rigorously than the government does today, has also contributed, he said.

Iran has the second highest heroin abuse rate in the world after Afghanistan, according to UNODC. Afghan addicts among the 1 million refugees in Iran have become such an issue Tehran has started to expel them.

“Our relatively open borders are not doing us any favours,” said Feda Mohammad Paikan, who heads the NACP working under the Afghan Ministry of Public Health. “Most addicts get hooked in Iran, and many of these men have wives.”


Afghanistan’s female narcotics problem is now filling the country’s largest women’s prison, Badam Bagh or “Almond Orchard”, on the outskirts of Kabul.

Of its 164 inmates, 64 are opium and heroin users, double what it was when the clinic started in 2008, said clinic doctor, Hanifa Amiri.

“There are simply more drugs out there available to women now,” she said, waving a medical-gloved hand over a prison courtyard, where burqa-clad female relatives were bringing gifts of pomegranates and flat naan bread for the inmates.

With cropped black hair, a leather jacket and a henna tattoo of a scorpion on her hand, inmate Madina looks nothing like an ordinary Afghan woman.

One of seven injecting heroin users in Badam Bagh, she lives with her teenage son and daughter in prison, where she has been for seven years since she killed her husband.

She said she murdered him after he forbade her from prostituting herself to support her habit, said Madina, the only inmate at the prison who agreed to speak to Reuters.

“I would love to give it all up, but how am I meant to, as a woman?” the 37-year-old mother of two said as she scratched at the scabs on her arm, dark red from recent use.

She supports her habit by selling handmade sexual aid tools — stuffing compacted wool into condoms — to other inmates, several of whom have developed lesbian relationships.

HIV and AIDS is becoming a more serious issue, largely spurred by injecting drug use, and could reach the general population if not tackled properly.

A new strategy being rolled out by the health ministry to target more women in counseling and HIV testing is being met by opposition from the strong conservative forces in Afghan society.

“HIV and drug use are viewed as evil in Muslim society, and even more so for women,” said specialist Mohammad Hahn Heddait, who works at the infectious diseases hospital under the ministry of health. (Reporting by Amie Ferris-Rotman; Editing by Michael Georgy and Bill Tarrant)


This is an excerpt from a fellow bloggar, Harriet Thacker, a freelance Journo from Brighton. Her blog is generally on “a little bit of feminism and a little bit of other stuff” and today she has written up about a festival which seems to be growing year on year (look out for it next year) at the Southbank. Although admittedly I found out about this too late (I will certainly look out for it next year) I found Harriets article so interesting -on the issues about how the current funding cuts are hitting women hardest, and how it is more important than ever that the hard fought for gains women have made over the years are not savaged by the patriarchal ideology and reforms of the current coalition government.

Harriet says…

“Is it any surprise that these cuts have gone through so smoothly with only 21 of the 119 government ministers being women? Of the 113,000 local government workers who faced redundancy 73% were women; 77% of NHS workers set to lose their jobs are women and of the 710,000 public employees cut 65% were women. Not only are there the staggering job losses that have led to female unemployment being at a 25-year high, but women now also face cuts to legal aid.”

International Women’s Day was celebrated across the country this week, but as female unemployment in the UK reaches a 25-year high solidarity amongst women is more important than ever.

International Women’s Day has been recognised for over a hundred years and was proposed to honour women’s advancement while also serving as a reminder of the continued vigilance and action required to gain and maintain women’s equality.

Women in the UK are now facing the fact that for the first time in living memory their freedoms are in reverse. With cuts to child benefit, legal aid and job losses in the public sector women are losing out in a huge way.

In London this weekend the Southbank Centre is hosting the Women of the World Festival 2012. Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of Southbank Centre, said: “’Throughout history, many women’s achievements have gone unnoticed or unsung. I created WOW – Women of the World Festival to celebrate the formidable power of women to make change happen, to remind us of our history, to draw attention to injustice, to enjoy each other’s company and to encourage men to add their support as we set out to achieve a fairer world. I was overwhelmed by the positive response to WOW in 2011 and am excited to build on this success with another great festival at Southbank Centre in 2012.” (For more of the festival see Harriets blog, it sounds awesome!)

Harriet goes onto say…

Despite promising to be “the most family-friendly government ever” the cuts are tailored to a model of a male breadwinner and a dependent female carer. Is it any surprise that these cuts have gone through so smoothly with only 21 of the 119 government ministers being women? Of the 113,000 local government workers who faced redundancy 73% were women; 77% of NHS workers set to lose their jobs are women and of the 710,000 public employees cut 65% were women. Not only are there the staggering job losses that have led to female unemployment being at a 25-year high, but women now also face cuts to legal aid. As qualifying rules tighten, half the women suffering domestic violence will lose legal aid. Wives facing divorce could stand to lose legal aid rendering them powerless to fight for custody of their children and sharing assets while husbands may afford lawyers.

Ghanimi says: “[The cuts] are inequitable, devastating and wholly unnecessary. Inequitable because women, the poorest and most vulnerable will suffer most. They are devastating because cuts to health, legal aid and welfare, for example, will leave the most vulnerable without the help and support they absolutely depend upon. They are unnecessary because there are alternatives such as a redistribution of wealth. Every year, for example, tax avoidance and evasion starves the British economy of an estimated £95 billion, probably more. It’s immoral for billionaires to pay less tax than people on ordinary incomes and yet this is routinely the case and positively encouraged. It’s no surprise then that the richest 1% have seen their income doubled since the 1970s in contrast to the rest of us. The Government is cutting tax inspectors, which says much about their priority on tax avoidance. Also, the rhetoric that the cuts being necessary to pay off the deficit seems increasingly absurd. Our deficit is actually increasing, not falling. The cuts are depressing our economy and the impact will be felt for a very long time.”

International Women’s Day this year has been more important than ever to draw women together and to raise awareness of what is actually happening to women in the current climate. The International Women’s Day website itself acknowledges the dangers of apathy: “The new millennium has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women’s and society’s thoughts about women’s equality and emancipation. Many from a younger generation feel that ‘all the battles have been won for women’ while many feminists from the 1970s know only too well the longevity and ingrained complexity of patriarchy.”

It is up to women to be the change we want to see in the world, to stand up against the reversal of our freedoms and not let apathy take those rights away from us.

To get involved with Brighton & Hove Women Against the Cuts visit www.bhwac.wordpress.com or on Twitter @BrightonHoveWAC
For the rest of her insightful article about Britain for todays woman, click for her blog here

Deutsch: Junge Frauen auf dem Markt von Chichi...

International Womens day; Empowering young women and girls living with and affected by HIV.

Statement on International Women’s Day 2012


On International Women’s Day 2012 the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS (GCWA), calls on its members, as well as all United Nations agencies, governments and donors to intensify efforts to engage and empower girls and young women living with and affected by HIV.

This is urgent because:

§  Every minute a young woman, between the ages of 15 to 24 becomes infected with HIV [1].

§  Globally, young women aged 15-24, are most vulnerable to HIV with infection rates twice as high as in young men.[2]

§  HIV is the leading cause of death of women of reproductive age.

Women and girls often face barriers in accessing HIV prevention, treatment and care services as well as sexual and reproductive health services due to factors such as lack of status and limited decision-making power, lack of control over financial resources and restricted mobility.[3]

Girls and young women can also face age-related barriers, such as parental consent laws or policies, which impede their access to HIV and sexual and reproductive health services and comprehensive sexuality education. Over the next ten years, more than 100 million girls in developing countries are expected to be married before their 18th birthday – mostly to older men and often against their will.

Girls and young women living with HIV also can be faced with stigma and discrimination––from their peers, families, health workers and communities. Key affected groups of women, such as women engaged in sex work and using drugs, can experience disproportionate levels of stigma and discrimination. This makes women who are engaged in sex work and/or use drugs less likely to access HIV prevention and treatment services as well as general health services.[4] HIV has left thousands of girls caring for their younger brothers and sisters after the death of their parents. The missed educational opportunities and inherent poverty further adds to their vulnerability to HIV, as well as unintended pregnancy.

All women and girls require greater efforts to secure their human rights.  We need to work together to:


1.       Enable girls and women, in all their diversity, to protect themselves from HIV infection, and live their full potential, free of stigma and discrimination, sexual violence, coercion and abuse.

2.       Promote sexual and reproductive health and rights of girls and young women, and ensure their access to comprehensive HIV and sexual and reproductive health services.

3.       Enable girls and young women access to comprehensive sexuality education and information.

4.       Advance and support the realization of all human rights of girls and young women.

Today on International Women’s Day, our commitment to girls and young women living with and affected by HIV is stronger than ever. By building and strengthening partnerships, and jointly advocating for the rights and needs of girls and young women. By mobilizing and empowering girls and young women living with and affected by HIV, we can help turn the tide of HIV and inspire them to determine the future they want.

POST Press Release (for all the information about the situation in Russia and the protest, click here)New York City Kicked off the global protest on the eve of World AIDS Day, and were followed by 12 other cities

On World Aids Day, 2011,  our women’s group (renamed from Glada Womens voices to Women Of Substance) pulled off coordinating an amazing global protest! We liaised with organisations led by people who use drugs and were supported by the International Network of People who Use Drugs(INPUD) -and together we gathered outside Russian embassies in cities across the world in the largest ever global show of solidarity by and for people who use drugs.

The protests, entitled ‘Shame Russia Shame’, was directed at Russia’s highly controversial drug policies which are believed to be driving the EEC regions HIV and TB epidemics. Injecting drugs with contaminated equipment is driving Russia’s HIV epidemic, now the fastest growing in the world and it is reflected in the numbers; as many as 80% of new infections are occurring amongst people who inject drugs (PWID), in a total HIV positive population of approx 1.3million. With this in mind, recent projections forecast an additional 5 million people could become infected with HIV in the near future, unless Russia drastically transforms the way it is dealing with its HIV pandemic.

INPUD member Erin O'Mara says Russia's drug policies are 'brutalising' INPUD member Erin O’Mara says Russia’s drug policies are ‘brutalising’

Erin O’Mara, (chair of Women Of Substance and editor of UK’s Black Poppy Magazine / INPUD member) who spearheaded the global protest said the human catastrophe unfolding in Russia is almost indescribable in its brutality and neglect.”Russia has more heroin users than anywhere in the world yet because they offer no safe alternatives such as methadone or buprenorphine, and corruption has driven the price of heroin above what many Russian users can afford, new home made concoctions like desomorphine (nicknamed krokodil) are gaining ground, with devastating health consequences for the user”. Erin adds, “To scratch the surface of Russian drug policies, you find some of the most brutalizing policies in the world; where their should be harm reduction, regulation, treatment and support, there is neglect, abuse, imprisonment, disease and death.”

New York City groups Harm Reduction Coalition and Vocal NY, led the first of the World Aids Day demos, reading speeches and presenting a statement of demands to the Russian Embassy, which included the demand for Opiate Substitution Therapies (OST) such as methadone to be both legal and accessible to the 2 million or more injecting drug users in Russia.

Mexico lays its candlelight vigil in memory of those who have died of AIDS.

Mexico soon followed, again on the eve of World AIDS Day, with their protest led by Espolea, an organisation who’s young people delivered their heartfelt candlelight vigil to remember those who have died of AIDS and those with HIV facing so much oppression in the Russian Federation. It was a very generous tribute from our young colleagues in Mexico at a time in the drugs war when they are facing such enormous troubles of their own. (see video below).

As December 1st -and World AIDS Day dawned,  the global domino effect began and cities from Canberra, Edinburgh, Barcelona, Berlin, Bucharest, London, Paris, Porto, Stockholm, Tblisi, Toronto, delivered their protests, and a unified SHAME RUSSIA SHAME rang out in front of Russian Embassies across the world.

Londons’ Russian Embassy Protest

Speeches were given and a statement of demands were delivered to the Embassies which included demands to see the introduction of Opiate Substitution therapy (OST) and the scale up of needle and syringe programmes, which although currently funded by outside NGO’s and not by the Russian Government, numbers of services are still shockingly inadequate, with around 50 odd for the entire Russian Federation.

The city of Tblisi also took a brave step and protested outside their Swiss Embassy, which currently stands in for the Russian embassy which has been removed from Georgia for political reasons. Nevertheless, Georgians who have also seen the emergence of the drug Krokodil from across the Russian border were keen to show solidarity with their Russian drug using peers, as history has meant they were very aware of the might of the Russian police forces and their attitudes towards drug users. Georgians took a huge risk protesting in Tblisi but seemed buoyed by recent workshops in drug user organising and empowerment and peerwork with INPUD.

New Vector, in Tblisi in support of their Russian peers, and raising awareness of krokodil

Demonstrators had the special opportunity to read out a letter from Russia, from an INPUD member and drug user activist named Alex, who spoke directly to his peers across the world about Russia’s indifference and the strength he gains from a unified drug using community.

Alex writes: “To my despair, I live in a country where the means don’t justify the ends Where it’s easier to save the lives of healthy people by destroying those who are sick. Where ethics and humanity have given way to contempt and cruelty. Where they evaluate prevention not in terms of possibilities and outcomes but dollars and popularity. I express my deepest gratitude to all of you who share my protest.  For me, World AIDS Day does not exist in Russia. For me World AIDS Day in Russia means white carnations and condolence cards.I’m alive today thanks to your help and your faith in our united strength. I wish us resilient spirits, and that love fills all of our homes. I’m with you today.”

It was an exciting, moving and empowering event for all concerned, however everyone

The white slippers and carnations outside the Russian Embassy in Canberra, Australia

was acutely aware that Russian themselves were simply not safe enough to protest on World AIDS Day, no matter how peacefully. Although this protest had its roots in Moscow in 2009 on International Drug User Day, when 5 Russian activists were arrested after trying to lay red carnations and white slippers (the Russian symbol for the dead) at the steps of the Drug Control Service, the protest expanded on International Remembrance Day 2011. 3 countries took part and (Budapest, Berlin and Barcelona) remembered their peers outside Russian embassies, again laying the symbols of the protest. This world AIDS Day,was a call out to the world that we will not let our Russian peers be forgotten -that we will stand side by side them as we all fight to ensure that Russian citizens have the right to humane, evidenced based, enlightened drug policies and treatment.

For more information and/or quotes from INPUD members and city organisers, please do not hesitate to get in touch with INPUD.

Contact: INPUD Deputy Project Co-ordinatorL eliotalbers@inpud.net who can put you in touch with the right person or answer your questions.

NOTE: A huge thank you to the global coordinators based in London – Women of Substance, Black Poppy Magazine, and Ava Project (London)– -and our partners in Eastern Europe Andrey Rylkov Foundation, Eurasian Harm Reduction Network and all those organisations who took part in this event. INPUD members;  Plataforma Drogologica (Barcelona), Deutsch AIDS Hilfe (Berlin), Harm Reduction Coalition, Vocal NY (New York City) ,ASUD, Cannabis Sans Frontiere (Paris), AIVL, NUAA, CAHMA(Canberra)  CASOP (Porto) Association Intergration (Bucharest),Svenska Brukarforeningen (Stockholm), New Vector (Tblisi), CounterFit (Toronto) Chemical Reaction (Edinburgh) , Espolea (Mexico City)

Marilyn's Book Gangster's Moll

Marilyn Wisbey, one of the members from our women’s group GLADA Women’s Voices, grew up amongst some of the most notorious villians of London.  The daughter of one of the Great Train Robbers, Tommy Wisbey, she is also the goddaughter of the infamous Freddie Foreman (aquitted of the murder of Ginger Marks and convicted of being an accessory to murder with Reggie Kray of Jack “The Hat” McVitie). She was a long time friend of Reggie and Charlie Kray and was in a relationship with the legendary “Mad” Frank Fraser for ten years.

Today, Marilyn works voluntarily with ex-offenders and people who use drugs (ex and current)on various projects and strives to bring the social and economic issues faced every day by ex-offenders into public view. Marilyn says on her blog “For many UK ex offenders the prison sentence really does begin when you are released. Whether it is trying to get your home insured, get employed or even start your own business; getting back into society is an up hill struggle. Other minority groups face the same issues too – those who have gone through bankcruptcy, people recovering from addiction, those with minor mental disorders.”

It is well worth taking a look at Marilyn’s new website as one of the issues she is passionate about concern something very rarely discussed yet which has huge implications for people who have been in prison: INSURANCE – or rather the lack of access to it. It is related to all types of insurance including employees liability insurance (which makes it extremely difficult, expensive or impossible for employers who wish to employ ex offenders from accessing such insurance. This also applies ex offenders seeking household insurance, life insurance etc. Marilyn is working hard to find ways to lobby the government around this and similarly related issues for ex offenders.

Marilyn wrote this for our blog, earlier this month which gives an insight into the issues faced when you’ve just got out of prison – and, it seems, the sentence becomes a lifelong one…

The Prison Sentence Starts when You are Released

Imagine, you have come from a broken home age 14 years of age, have been abused, your living rough on the streets for years, you drink and shoplift to “survive”, cos you have no fixed abode. You then “sofa surf” with friends that are providing you warmth from the snow, in return for crime i.e. commercial burglary, smash and grabs. You are now aged 21, your arrested and spend time, along with the more experienced, professional, prisoners. You learn welding, or whatever they decide to teach you, you take the courses that are offered in HMP…Then your released, into a hostel and trying for employment, you’ve completed your parole, you’ve abided by the rules, you start to try to turn your life around….

You apply for work, you may even get a reply. If your accepted and get an interview (and you inform them of your past), you’re told I’m sorry, sir or madam, you were not accepted.

Years go by, you are scrimping by, do the odd decorating job, window cleaning…

You then start a college course, you get your diplomas, you start to find job, you get a reply, and are accepted, your life has started to turn around. You buy a small house, you decide now things are looking up, a mortgage first with your professional partner, things are going well, then all of a sudden, whilst your away on a Thomson’s holiday – you discover you have been burgled.

You call the police, you report everything, from the Ford Mondeo to the plasma TV, plus the personal damage to your home. You think well at least we were not in when it happened, ” thank god we were insured”. You call up your insurance broker to report it with the crime number.

You arrange for the assessors for appointment as they want to inspect your premises, “Ok”, they say “you will be hearing from us via a letter”. The letter arrives with them saying I’m very sorry, but we are not going to pay out, the reason being you never declared in your application that you were an ex-offender.

“Well there were no questions to that effect”, you say but the answer comes back, “Well you should have read the small print”.

This did happen to me many years ago with a car; I was in employment, but was unemployed when I made the claim, which was not carried out!

 Let’s not let financial exclusion from insurers destroy ex offender’s lives! Charities and organizations need to help address this issue and give correct advice to their clients about these issues.

Eve McDougall's sculpture

Girls Behind Bars: Female Experiences of Justice Together Our Space Gallery, London EC1V 9BE

An exhibition of artworks by current and former women prisoners is on show at the Together gallery in London’s Old Street. Mental health charity Together organised the exhibition with to share these women’s experiences of justice in conjunction with Eve McDougall, a former prisoner who served a two-year sentence in an adults prison in Scotland when she was 15 for breaking a window. Eve is one of the women in our women’s group GLADA Womens Voices.

It is a very powerful and thought provoking exhibition with some really brilliant pieces of work and has been a well attended exhibition throughout. It is highly recommended as worth seeing by numerous people and organisations – and we fully agree!

It is on until June 10th. See the link below to the Guardians coverage of the exhibition

Girls Behind Bars: Female Experiences of Justice Together Our Space Gallery, London EC1V 9BE

Starts 9 March Finish 10 June.

Further information and to see some of the brilliant works on show  click link