I was in prison in Barbados from April 2010 to December 2012 on a drugs charge, so I served 33 months in total. I was introduced to Prisoners Abroad by the consulate.

I needed medical treatment whilst I was in prison – I needed a dentist and removal of an IUD, none of which was provided for free as foreigners have to pay, and that’s where Prisoners Abroad’s medical fund came in – it was such a great help. Getting appointments sorted was still an issue in itself, but my stress was greatly reduced due to the fact that I could afford to pay for the treatment.

I received regular survival grants which meant I could access all the basic necessities I needed. The prison only provided women with three sanitary towels a month which was humiliating, so I used this grant to buy myself more. 

My family were back in the UK – my two children and my brother – I was given factsheets to help me keep in touch with my children and be aware of the sensitivities of the situation – it was very difficult for them too. I was allowed a 20 minute phone call a month, and was not able to have a family visit during my time in prison there.

Prisoners Abroad made a lot of difference. The help was brilliant compared to the help other people in the prison received – they pretty much had nothing.

I returned to the UK in 2012 and went to live with my brother. I went to Prisoners Abroad as soon as I could and met my caseworker, and the support was lovely; she was so helpful, she helped me with accommodation, clothes, toiletries and started the process of applying for benefits while I got back on my feet. It was everything I needed. She also suggested I see a doctor before looking for work, this helped a lot as I still felt like I was in such a daze.

I was then helped with travel costs, money for good, and they helped me arrange house viewing and liaised with estate agents to make sure I got a property, we managed to secure somewhere for six months and this was them extended.

I was also referred to Crisis for councelling and training to help me start looking – it was invaluable to be pointed in the right direction. Prisoners Abroad’s support was very important, you have no one else, and it’s good to know there is someone in your corner.