I watched a drama earlier today that was shown over 3 nights earlier in the week which portrayed a part of the judicial system in this country. It told a story revolving around a female probation officer who gets over involved about a case of a young man who is released on licence for murder only to retract his confession. I’m not going into details over the whole drama suffice to say I enjoyed it a lot, however there were some unrealities within it that I found irritating more than anything else. It is with some of these “unrealities” that do a disservice to those in the probation service who do a tremendously difficult and seemingly impossible job. I say this with absolute authority because I have worked in this arena myself for the past 10 years. I worked as a Youth Offending Team Officer for 8 years and the past 2 years I have worked as a therapist in a forensic unit meeting the needs of children coming to terms with the offences they have committed.
I know that in the adult probation service officers generally have a case load of anywhere between 150-190 cases. As you can imagine these officers are flagging bonfires within an inferno which is a useful metaphor for this industry. It is an impossible number to keep up with let alone keeping in touch with high risk offenders. These type of dramas always seem to highlight the professional in their wrong doing and this gives a negative view to the public about the profession as a whole. I was praying about justice and the support of these professionals which is really a continuance of my prayers from yesterday. The public are being short changed in my view and I will continue to pray for this industry to have more wisdom and financial resources with which to enable the public to feel safe and secure. It is the continued forcing of work onto these professionals who are continually getting badgered for making poor decisions that I find offensive. I pray that someone somewhere can see these issues for what they are and come up with useful solutions.
I pray too for the victims families in these instances because although I am in favour of people who have made mistakes to start afresh I am as much in favour of justice been proportionate and fair to the victims of some of these awful crimes. Transparency for everyone and everything has to be the order of the day in my view.