Our over-riding aim is to reduce reoffending and protect the public.
I qualified mid 2012, after coming to probation as an administrator in both probation offices and Crown Courts. I started my working life in the banking sector and I was looking for a change. My degree is in criminology, so this is an area I’ve always wanted to work in – so training to be a probation office was a natural progression. I love it. No two days are ever the same and I love the daily challenges my job presents.
My day begins at 7.45am when I arrive in the office and sit down and check my emails and catch up on anything that comes in overnight. Depending upon whether anything is urgent, I may have to reorganise my day.
Around 8.30am I wrote a letter of recommendation for a client that finished their suspended sentence, who wanted to get their licence back early following completion of a Drink Impaired Drivers programme.
At 9.30am I get up from desk and grab a coffee and then get on with writing reports until 11am, when I have my first appointment. As a morning person, I find this to be my most productive time of the day.
I see three to four people per day from Tuesday to Thursday. The appointments last around 30 minutes, unless a client wants to talk through problems.
Generally clients have appointment weekly, bi weekly or monthly depending upon close supervision they require. I keep Fridays and Mondays as clear as I can so I can write these up. In between my appointments I write up meeting notes on the computer system.
Somewhere between 12pm and 2pm, I grab lunch and eat it at my desk.
At 2pm, I meet a client to go shopping. He has been in a hostel for a long time, and has recently been given housing by his local authority. The Sherriff and Recorders Fund at the Old Bailey gave him a grant of £100, to go towards household items – so it is my job to keep hold of the money until he has purchased what he needed. We went shopping for a microwave and kettle. It was a good chance to catch up in an informal setting.
For the rest of the day I finish reports, complete OASys reviews, reply to emails, return phone calls and check my diary to make sure I am prepared for the next day.
I love the responsibility of being a Probation Officer. I’m glad I retrained. I wanted something to test my brain, and although the job can be daunting at times, I love the feeling of helping people move their lives in the right direction.”
“I am so very grateful to my probation officer…the programme changed my life”
Forty-five-year-old Suanne was put on Structured Supervision for Women instead of a custodial sentence. She said “I don’t think I’ll ever commit a crime again. But I don’t think I could have done it on my own”.