Hi All! Found you great guys over on Twitter and glad I did! I'm an ex offender hoping to start a new charity for ex offenders because in my view, there are little organisations knocking about for us. I couldn't help reading the posts about probation and would like my two pence worth if it is OK with you guys. I was on licence for two years. Like thousands of others, I bought a bus day saver ticket, and it cost me a fiver to sit with my probation officer for a few minutes. The longest I have sat in a probation office was when I was released from prison. Little has changed!
The top and bottom of it is, the probation service has gone to the dogs and it isn't working. One ex offender who I am supporting at the moment is seeing different probation officers every time he goes to his appointment. If that is the case, then how can your probation officer really get to know you and how can they make decisions about you and if you are still a threat to the community? It is a load of tripe and the probation service know it too! If I asked my ex probation officer what he really knew about me, there is no way he could tell you apart from I was an ex thief. He has no idea what I am all about. Basically, I turned up for all my probation appointments because quite simply I had too. They bored me to tears and they were about as constructive as a chocolate fire-guard, but I turned up because I wasn't giving them the satisfaction of throwing me on the next sweat-box back to prison. I have been in prison twice, once was years ago, when you would meet your probation in a suit and tie and they would have the time to discuss how you really are and how you are coping on the out, as well as assisting you to find jobs. Nowadays it is a meet up folk who dress as they please (which is a good thing and less intimidating) and your appointments are neither use nor ornament. (Apologies to probation officers out there but it is the truth)
With little time spent with their clients, how can any probation write an honest report about an individual? Basically what probation is all about these days is this - If you don't turn up - you go back to prison! That's all they stand for. I could go on and on about lots of different situations I and others have experienced with probation but I'll give it a rest for now. Great blog, I'll be back again and keep up all the good work you are doing! Regards, Mark.