Give Offenders Back Probation - From Andrew B

Dear Editor PFV. I am a fan of your blog and have noticed that you are publishing quite a lot of posts by the On Probation Blog.
My name is, Ex Offender, as I have been labelled one now after serving a 7 year sentence for armed robbery. I had never been in trouble with the law previously therefore I consider myself NOT a career criminal. I screwed up and regretted it ever since.
I am on probation now and I have a good relationship with my probation officer. He does the best he can under pressure and by meaning under pressure, I mean that he doesn't often see me and is bogged down with paperwork. One day whilst I was waiting to see him, I was chatting to a guy who was a career criminal. He was grumbling about what a waste of his time it was sitting there to see his probation officer for only 5 minutes. He had also told me that years ago, probation officers spent time with offenders supporting them with their rehabilitation and that these days, that doesn't happen.
I told him that it doesn't happen because their job now consists of paperwork - which is what I have been witnessing over the past 6 months. I just want to clear this up by saying that I know for a fact if my probation officer had the time, he would support me and he has even said this himself. He has tried by giving me telephone numbers of employers who take on ex offenders and phone numbers of other support groups, but other than that, he does not have the time. I am not here to slag probation off, they have a job to do and it must be frustrating for them, especially mine who cannot give me the time to advise me. I am an ex con who does not want to be like the other man sat in probation, I want to make something of myself and put the prison issue well behind me, but it's hard when there is no support on offer. I see young lads going to probation and I see that in no time they will be back in prison as they treat their appointments as a joke. A couple of them were smoking a joint outside whilst waiting to book in which in my opinion shows no respect for the people who are monitoring us. I am finding it all a bit depressing because I take my appointments and what I did very seriously in order to change my life around. Luckily I have a great girlfriend who supports and helps me with online job applications and things, but what about those who haven't who want support changing their life's. I remember in prison when a member of staff said to me, "you have to take responsibility for your ow actions." Which yes is very true, but if the likes of probation do not have the time to support ex cons on release then how is the prison revolving door going to slow down? Do the Government want more people in prison? It appears that way because they are/have stripped the services for ex offenders in my opinion by taking the real job of a probation officer from us. Regards Andrew B.