The Princess of Wales, 41, visited HMP High Down prison in Surrey, England, on Tuesday morning to learn how inmates and their families are being supported through addiction.
Kate observed how the Forward Trust, of which she is the royal patron, helps those in the criminal justice system manage and recover from addiction. She was shown what a family goes through during a normal visit to the jail, beginning with the required security process. The royal also heard about the impact this has on families.
High Down, a men's prison with around 1,100 prisoners, has been working to try to ensure that it is a more positive experience, for children in particular.
Princess Kate sat down with incarcerated people whose journey began with addiction. They told her about the current programs provided by both the charity and the prison. as well as the support they are receiving for their addiction. One initiative, The Bridge, is an intensive abstinence-based program, while Stepping Stones is an intervention program for those whose alcohol or drug consumption is at harmful or dependent levels.
A third project, Family Ties, takes the form of a series of workshops focused on restoring healthy communication and trust between loved ones. This is very much part of the Forward Trust’s ethos, which is to help the intergenerational trauma of addiction.
Kate also spent time in The Clink, a restaurant that trains prisoners in hospitality. She used the opportunity to speak to those who have worked with and volunteered for the charity in prison and the community and learn how they have been supported to recover from and manage their addictions.
Addiction was one of the first issues Kate adopted after she married Prince William in 2011. That helped lead to her championing mental health awareness, especially the impact that it has on young children.
Kate has been working with addiction charities for more than a decade, helping her understand “the complexities of mental health and has informed much of her work on the early years,” her office at Kensington Palace said.
“Experiences in early childhood, before the age of five, are proven to have significant impact on adult lives, including resilience and the ability to cope with adversity.”
Addiction Awareness Week, which takes place in the U.K. from Oct. 28 to Nov. 4, features the theme of "Everybody Knows Somebody," stressing that people from across society can be affected by addiction.
The Princess became the patron of The Forward Trust in June 2021 when the charity merged with Action on Addiction, which was one of her first royal patronages in 2012.