Gay Chemsex Victim Suicides, After Failure by Prison Rehabilitation Process
Urgent need for Prison rehabilitation reform, along with drug addiction Support, by Government.
A 38 year-old man took his own life last month, after the newly formed and renamed 'HMPPS' or 'Her Majesty's Prisons and Probations Service' failed to offer any support in his rehabilitation after release from Prison last July.
This should be a wake-up call to Minister for Prisons, Rory Stewart, and Justice Secretary David Gauke, that Britain needs an urgent policy of prison reform with a holistic approach to resettlement, rehabilitation and re-entry into society, in order to reduce re-offending. It should also show that the phenomenon known as 'Chemsex' is an illness, and that instead of locking victims up for it, we should be providing support and early intervention, to prevent more lives from being lost, like this one.
Educated at St Edmunds College, Cambridge, and Durham University, Peter had a Masters in Education, and was studying for a Doctorate, having almost finished his thesis. He was a well-respected and liked deputy Headmaster of a private Catholic School in London. From all accounts he appeared to be extremely successful, in fact he was often referred to as a brilliant teacher. In 2014 he lost his Mother to breast cancer, followed soon after by his Grandmother. Struggling with the grief from both losses, and unable to admit his sexuality in the workplace for fear of losing his position and career, he turned to Grindr, to discretely search for 'hook ups' or to meet other gay men. This soon led to his being invited to a 'chemsex party' and the downwards spiral started. It began with a couple of lines of M-cat and a shot of Gamma-Butylactrose, or GBL, and then pretty soon led to smoking Crystal Methamphetamine, and then 'slamming' or injecting it into the bloodstream.
By now, there is nothing extraordinary in this chain of events. It’s happening all over the world. Every Thursday, Friday or Saturday night hundreds or even thousands of gay men are being introduced to this world of 'Party n Play' or 'Chemsex orgies' where, once high, all inhibition is lost, and all judgement impaired, and pretty soon ideas or situations one once thought were bizarre, become normal and even boring, as the quest begins to chase the feeling of euphoria and heightened sexual gratification, forgetting for a few hours or days the pain and hurt or grief. Sex with multiple partners, without protection becomes normal, in a party which sometimes lasts three to four days, without sleep or sustenance.
Don't think for a moment that these victims are poverty stricken, homeless, or down and out. No, this phenomenon specifically targets young to middle-aged upwardly mobile professionals, who all outwardly appear to be successful and with the world at their feet, just the same as Peter. On any given party night you can expect to encounter Lawyers, Accountants, Teachers, Doctors, even Crown Court Justices, and high ranking Police Officers
Typically it is vulnerable people such as Peter who are prime targets for this culture. Guys who are under extreme pressure from work commitments, and who begin by looking at it as a release. The break-up of a relationship, or the loss of a loved one is often a catalyst, and the peer pressure within gay communities is almost tantamount to bullying, but they know that within 3.5seconds of injecting that fluid, they'll all be high and the pain and stress will all just melt away, replaced by an all-encompassing feeling of lust and desire which can last for hours.
The rehabilitation courses, which were mandatory… were never made available…
When Peter was arrested, he lost his job, home, livelihood, social standing in the community, and also suffered the estrangement from his family at a time when perhaps he needed them most. Sentenced to 33 months prison, He of course served the mandatory half his term, and was released in July 2017. During his incarceration, nothing was offered in the way of counselling, support or assistance or even assessment in dealing with either his drug and sex addiction, or the underlying emotional issues to do with the loss of his Mother or Grandmother, despite the Judge admitting in his summing up statements, that these were the primary triggers for his 'descent to debauchery'. He was found with pornographic images on his phone, so was also placed on the sex offenders register. During his prison term he was, like everyone, ferried back and forth across the country every few months, and no thought was given to preparation for re-entry into society again on his release. The rehabilitation courses which were mandatory in his 'sentence plan' and supposed to have been addressed prior to release, were never made available, and therefore he was forced to undertake them in his own time once he left prison.
A devout Catholic, He even had to obtain permission to attend Church every Sunday.
Once released, his situation would only become worse. He was discharged from prison near Cambridge, some 100 km from where he was arrested in London. His probation officer was located in Kings Cross, so he was forced to make his way there under his own steam immediately upon release, still dressed in a prison tracksuit as the suit he had been arrested in, had somehow been lost in the prison system. By now he was homeless, with no job, no study to return to, as the police had destroyed his computer with his almost finished thesis on it, no family support and no friends having lost contact with them during his incarceration. Luckily he had £5000 in his bank account, but many in the same situation don't. He managed to find himself a bed and breakfast accommodation in East London, but because of his sex offenders registration, he would now have to make a request to probation every time he wanted to travel anywhere. A devout Catholic, he even had to obtain permission to attend church every Sunday. His employment prospects were now next to non-existent, and although he managed to find a small bedsit fairly quickly, it was an existence, rather than a life, and very soon the lure of chemsex parties became too much, for many of the reasons he had begun them in the first place - basically escapism.
A week before his death, he commented to me that he had recommended my book, 'Chasing the Dragon' to his Probation officer, who had begun to ask him questions about the culture, as she was getting more and more 'cases' of it popping up, and as a middle aged, married woman, she had absolutely no concept of it at all. At the end of April, not quite 9 months after his release from Prison, the pressure and constraints of the system the lack of support and counselling, the isolation and loneliness became too much and he ended his life with an overdose of GBL. His body was found in a park near the church he had been attending. A huge loss to society, of a highly intelligent, well educated, polite and mild mannered person, who at the age of 38 had so much still to contribute, but as with so many others, the system has done its level best to achieve the exact antithesis of what it should be - instead of resettlement, rehabilitation and reducing reoffending, it had finally ground him down, humiliating and restricting him to the point where his life was not worth living any longer.
For further information on Chemsex or prison reform, my book series 'The Chemsex Trilogy' is available in e-Book and paperback at all good bookstores and outlets - visit www.Cameronyorke.com