Chapter 1 RELEASE
Release was established to help those who have been arrested for alleged drug offences. The following report is derived from observations made and results achieved in the first twelve months of work.
The most important aspect of Release's work has been to ensure that young people who have been arrested for drug charges are legally represented. Once we have been contacted by an arrested individual, it is possible for us, in turn, to make contact with friends and relations of that person. Advice is also given on individual rights regarding searches, arrests, court procedures and the interpretation of the law, Financial assistance is provided in those cases where legal ?. aid has been refused, and we have also given more general `;'' advice or information to whoever has asked for it. We have acted as a liaison for people needing medical attention, work. or accommodation. If we are unable to provide direct help,' we have been able to refer individuals to the place moat appropriately set up to provide the necessary service.
It has become increasingly obvious to us how important" advice is to people arrested for drug offences when those in authority at lower levels are unco-operative and those in more senior positions lack the understanding necessary to deal with the problems of drug use.
A twenty-four hour telephone service has been in operation since June 1967 which enables us to help anyone in urgent need of our advice or services at any hour of the day or night. A twenty-four hour emergency service is necessary because the police tend to make arrests for drug, offences in private homes at night, This intrusion heightens the shock efiect that the sudden appearance of police officers has upon any individual. As a result, many people find themselves in prison on remand before they fully realise what has happened, having found it almost impossible to make contact with friends or family after being arrested.
Making a telephone call from a police station following an arrest is difficult enough, let alone in the middle of the night! It may be very difficult to make a second. telephone call if the first person telephoned is unobtainable. Therefore, we felt it would be easier for an arrested person who has been taken to a police station to have a universal number available, rather than having to think of someone to call who would probably be disturbed in the early hours of the morning.