Sunday, 25 April 2010

At least I know Probation are reading...

I went to see my Offender Manager on Friday. We discussed my course, my work (or lack of it) and my home life, my girlfriend - usual bullshit.

Mid-conversation, she produced a print-out of part of this blog, and asked me whether it was me or not! I, of course, told her that even if it was, it was none of her business, as my Licence did not prevent me from publishing a blog.

She then called her manager in, and they both told me that if I continued to publish, or even didn't take the blog down from their computers in the office, I would be put back in prison that day. At that stage, I pulled out my mobile phone and speed-dialled my solicitor in Southport, then put him on loudspeaker and invited Probation to repeat their threats. Strangely enough, they weren't happy to do so.

However, they did try to suggest that I've breached my licence by permitting my "victim" to contact me. So I asked them exactly how I'm supposed to stop an adult (19 year old university student) from calling me.

They suggested I should change my phone number (that I've had for over 11 years) as this would solve the problem and "keep me safe". OK, but who will pay for the new business cards, headed paper, contract, etc? They won't.

And in any case, do we not have freedom of expression. My "Victim" is entirely permitted to call me, my licence only stops me from calling her. And, since she has initiated the contact with me, I'd suggest that I can now call her without it being a breach of my licence in any case.

My solicitor pointed this out to my OM, and also pointed out that Probation and the Prison Service were notified that my "victim" was calling me and trying to visit me, by him, while I was still in an Open Prison. So they are being inconsistent if they want it to stop now, nearly a year down the line.

As it happens, my "Victim" reads this blog, and has said that if I want to name her. I'm welcome to do so. She's at University only a few miles down the road now, but we haven't met - that would cross the line.

Nonetheless, the system is trying to be silly now. But then we all knew that already.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

It's been a while

But I'm now on the next element of SOGP.

In the interim, I've been through "Victim Empathy". This included the woolly concept that a Victim is not necessarily the person who suffered as a result of your action. Indeed, in the case of one of our members, the facilitators suggested that the victim was the uninvolved person who reported him to police!

What claptrap.

A victim is a victim only if they have suffered harm by the improper actions of another person towards them. In other words, a 16 year old boy who sleeps with his 25 year old teacher, by consent, is no more a victim than the chairman of RBS when he picks up his unfeasibly large salary.

For anyone to suggest that someone uninvolved, unaffected and unrelated to the event could be a victim is ludicrous.

And then we had to role-play as our victim! I was expected to accept the victim suffered harm. The harm that was so severe and traumatising that she refused to give evidence, co-operate with police or make any victim impact statement, and so severe and traumatising that since release she has written to me three times, telephones me weekly and wants to meet me the day my licence expires.

This is purely a box-ticking exercise. I may well decline to continue the course.