They say that meeting your heroes often disappoints.
With the powerful momentum for enduring reform in criminal justice systems captured most recently by the Black Lives Matter campaign in mind, I was particularly moved on reading Elliott Currie's timely analysis and policy blueprint for addressing the shocking levels of 'everyday' violence that besets many African American communities in the US.
One of my more recent but infrequent forays into the Canadian correctional literature field was reading a lively and absorbing anthology of real life case histories written by a former probation officer, Doug Heckbert, entitled provocatively, Go ahead and Shoot me!
Often when reading criminological tomes, a phrase or reference will leap out from the pages to evoke a memory of past probation practice.
It was whilst poring over the pages of Dan Werb's unsettling book, 'City of Omens', a troubling narrative of femicide on the US/Mexican borderlands, that I recalled a time in my probation career when my role in the union, Napo entrusted me with arranging guest speakers at branch meetings.
Whilst it was far from being an unexpected departure from my usual staple diet of criminal justice reading, I was jolted in a very visceral way having read the first few pages of Thomas Grant's keenly observed exploration of some of the more sensational criminal cases heard in the Old Bailey.
I suppose it was almost inevitable when I was reading a recently published and presciently informed book on risk control in criminal justice, that two pertinent terms in particular, risk and existential uncertainty, resonated most uncomfortably with me in the current all enveloping coronavirus pandemic.