I see probation has had a mention recently and I thought it might be helpful if I responded. The following is in response to 'I Blame Probation For My My Family Break-up'
"I'd like to respond by saying that it's always difficult to talk about any case if you don't know all the details. In particular we don't know what the offence/s were that led to a prison term. We don't know if there was any offending history or if there were any concerns relating to risks either to the public, particular people or the individual them self. That being said, any person on licence that goes AWOL is a serious matter whatever the reasons might be. In this case there were clearly worries as the author admits. Alcohol might have been a factor involved in the commission of the offences and there might well have been concerns for the individuals safety. In such a circumstance it would have been my policy to say that I had no alternative but to instigate immediate recall. That is never a decision taken lightly, but in this case we are not talking about missing an appointment. The person had disappeared, which puts them in breach of their licence and therefore in order to effect their arrest, recall must be applied for. I have previously said that it would be my practice to inform the individual or partner, unless there was reason to feel this would put anyone at risk. In terms of how the arrest was made, all I can say is that the police normally only allocate manpower on the basis of whether they feel a person is likely to resist arrest. Following recall, the reasons why the person went missing could be addressed by the Probation Officer and hopefully form the basis of a positive recommendation to the Parole Board."