To the Editor. I know it has probably said umpteen times, but I would like to voice my opinion on Probation. I am an ex offender and I have turned my life around no thanks to them. I did get on with my probation officer, but that's all I did, exchanging pleasantries, because what choice do you have but to shut up, put up and maintain your liberty. I never missed a probation appointment and always made sure I was on time. I too saw different probation officers time over and they did not have a clue who I was and what I was all about. Nor did they ever ask me what my intentions were concerning employment. Many a time I wanted to ask my assigned probation officer what exactly his job was because all I saw was mountains of paperwork and files. I could see he was snowed under so I kept my opinions to myself. As I said, I didn't hold anything against him, he was doing his job and was a decent bloke when all said and done.
Take it from me, you must always go to your probation appointments and make sure you communicate with them at all times. It takes one fax to the MOJ and you are recalled. Trying to get out of bloody prison after you have been recalled is a nightmare. Although I have never been recalled, I have been in jail with lads that have, so I know the score. What angered me with some of the lads, were that they were recalled for idiotic reasons. Some deserve it, I'll hold my hands up to that, but some probation officers must love screwing up people's life's. Because you are late for an appointment, doesn't mean that you are a threat to society. If you cannot ring probation to let them know you are going to be late does not mean you are threat either. Simple explanations such as not having credit on your mobile phone to ring probation because you cannot afford credit whilst claiming Job Seekers allowance. Being late for an appointment and being recalled to prison for it is insane. Buses can be late, trains can be delayed, and situations in general can delay people such as a poorly child or an emergency appointment at the doctors or hospital. Ex offenders can get ill and ex offenders can have poorly children. All the above that I have pointed out are real life situations and real examples of prison recall. If you don't have a good probation officer who is understanding, you are well and truly knackered. There are some probation officers that do not sing from the same hymn sheet so be aware and make sure your loved ones attend their probation appointments. Andy.