Saturday, August 11, 2012


Even when I am released, I am forever yoked into the conceptual box of "offender". I may be an ex-prisoner, but to the probation service I will always be an "offender". . Despite not having being convicted of any crime in 32 years.
Never an "ex-offender". I find that to be a highly revealing of the official mindset. And I despair. Because to always view us as specimens in a jar, to regard us as mere carriers of "criminogenic needs", denies us any status as human beings.
And without that status, how can we ever rejoin and embrace the community? If we are held at a distance with a shitty stick, is it any wonder that so many ex-prisoners find it impossible to build a legitimate existence on release?


  1. Having been on probation myself and been categorised an 'offender', I know how you feel and I was not labouring under the strict conditions that you will have, I think from the frying into the fire especially in the early days. All I can say I hope you have a good officer. Still remember, out of 168 hours in a week, you only have to deal with them for 1 hour which is better than prison.

    Good luck.

  2. Follow the rules. Ignore the advice. Do your own thing - and live a little....

  3. You can see the prejudice clearly that those who have commited crimes in the past are forever stuck with. One only has to consider the recent news stories of candidates for the (awful) position of Police and Crime Commisisoner who have had to decide not to stand because of offences they committed almost half a century ago.

    Until we can have a senisble discussion around criminality, criminal behaviour, justice and rehabilitation then we are forever condeming people who have made mistakes in their life to a second-class life and often into a cylce of constant offending because society wants nothing to do with them. Before we can do that though, we need to stop letting the likes of the Daily Mail "educate" people on law and order, justice and crime.

  4. Completely agree with your and the views expressed by Ally.

    I try to argue from this viewpoint too on my blog -

    I hope you and your readers have a look and let me know what you think. If you could follow the blog as well - that'd be great. It would be nice to have a collective voice for us to push our views forward together.

  5. As a probation staff member I go to huge lengths to avoid the term "offender". At least replace with "someone who offends" or "someone who has offended".

    Labels are never helpful, I think most of us know that. Sometimes it's easy to use them, to save time and quickly convey context, but it's a destructive habit.

    That said, I hate using the word "client" and most the other alternatives! "people I work with" is the usual go-to.