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Trying to do things better in probation

Since retiring from the probation service, I have remained a seasoned observer of the relentless organisational reforms visited on it from what has often appeared governmental whim.

31 March 2021
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A bruising judicial encounter

As a devotee of judicial memoirs, I recently read a refreshingly honest, lively and engaging biography of a maverick pioneer of US drug and problem-solving courts, Judge Jeffrey Tauber.

16 March 2021
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Breaking out

Breaking Out is Janice Nix's unsparingly honest account of her transformative journey from serial offender and drug dealer to working with the Probation Service in London.

15 February 2021
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Supervising Donny

They say that meeting your heroes often disappoints.

3 December 2020
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'Putting in work' with Santiago

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.

5 November 2020
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A footballer and a probation officer

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! 

2 October 2020
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A volatile probation relationship

Often when reading criminological tomes, a phrase or reference will leap out from the pages to evoke a memory of past probation practice.

17 September 2020
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Memorable speakers from my time in probation

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.

5 August 2020
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A busy morning in probation

Whilst I was reading Michael Tonry's timely and humane critique of many of the more damaging and unjust policies and practices of punishment and sentencing in the US justice system, a phrase jolted my memory of my time working in probation.

6 July 2020