Having been ill and not up to much reading or commenting lately, I found myself going over some of the posts whilst I have been away. What has struck me is the huge amount of posts, comments, emails etc regarding The Probation Service. This is supposed to be one of our main organisations supporting ex prisoners on their release. I say supposed because it is just not happening.
Karen makes some excellent comments about her experience with probationers, the lack of continuity being just one problem. Emma, in her post 'Probation need to sort their act out' is another example of how this can, and does, affect those waiting for release.
I was very heartened though by the posts by Jim Brown, an 'old school' probation officer. In those he comments from the 'other side' as it were, and makes some very valid and important points.(Please click on the highlighted links below to read them.) He is obviously one of the very few who continue to do 'the job' as was intended, I know a couple of other officers who also try to do a good job within the very difficult and restricted way in which they are now allowed to operate. I also know many more probation officers who couldn't give a damn about their 'clients'. They really do just 'clock in' do their bit and 'clock out', not to say I blame them personally, well, maybe some of them. The 'system' itself allows this to happen.
As Tracy said, most people have lost any faith in The Probation Service as a whole. Any system which allows peoples lives to be held hostage to the whims of an overworked or just plain incompetent officer, is simply not fit for purpose. I am not in any way suggesting that there aren't people who deserve to be returned to prison, some do, but for missing an appointment? or some other petty offence? Really?.