Nick Davies makes compelling reading, but it is a mistake to assume it was different 40 years ago. I was a probation officer in the 1960s and 1970s and saw many of the situations he describes. Alas drug addicts then had their bodies mutilated and their lives torn apart, and crime was an everyday part of their lives. The cycle of homelessness and temporary accommodation was part of the norm, probably more so than now.

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