Anyone interested in knowing something about a significant group of clients that form much of the bread and butter work of the probation service in modern Britain would do well to tune into BBC 3 on Friday evenings over the next seven weeks. Apparently the production team spent 12 months filming for 'The Lock Up' in the custody suite of Humberside Police at Priory Street in Hull and have put together eight episodes of what I assume they would regard as 'the best bits'.
Yet again one has to be nothing but impressed by how professionally the custody staff deal with extremely challenging behaviour by some of the most damaged, intoxicated or drug-affected people you could imagine. These sort of programmes always leave me wondering about what was left out though either because it was so boring, although that seems unlikely from my limited experience of custody areas, or because people refused permission to show the footage. I mean surely some people must refuse to give permission when they are clear-headed and confronted with the tv images showing what a complete arse they've been? Do they really want their family and friends to see them acting like knobs? Or is it a rather clever piece of attempted behaviour-modification? A feed-back loop designed to shame people into change? It might work I suppose.
I must admit that I found myself mentally running through the PSR I might be attempting to write for court in a couple of cases and speculating on likely elements in certain people's life histories. It's a sad fact that so many damaged people we see have similar features in their early developmental histories and I suspect many characters that are going to appear over the coming weeks will be no different.
So what are we to do with these people so that they stop causing society and themselves endless trouble and heartache? Well not give them Community Service I think. To put it bluntly, handing down such a disposal when someone is struggling with either a significant drug or alcohol problem makes no sense to me. Compliance is most unlikely and I wondered what on earth the FDR at court or full PSR had suggested? Surely they weren't sentenced without?