Summer really does seem to have arrived - for this week at least. Of course all probation officers know only too well that our clients like to take full advantage of seasonal changes in the weather as soon as possible. The minute that thermometer begins to move they are stripped off to the waist, revealing in the process a wide range of 'tats' that usually stay unobserved. The typical reporting ensemble is normally completed with just shorts and trainers. I have to say that it's a sight that never fails to depress me, especially when the flag of St George is in some way involved.
While I'm in this grumpy frame of mind brought on by sartorial matters, I might as well make mention of current prison attire for inmates. It can only be summed up as dreadful. Typically the cheapest-looking maroon tee shirt and drab grey 'trakki 'bottoms that seem to facilitate and encourage endless rummaging within. I know I'm not the only officer to now have doubts about the practice of shaking hands with prisoners when you've just seen where they've been.
Only a few years ago prisoners could look reasonably smart in cotton striped shirts and decent trousers. The present crap outfits might be a whole lot cheaper, but do absolutely nothing to help instill a sense of pride in ones appearance or sense of dignity even. It can't do anything to help rehabilitation if the message being given is 'you're basically crap, so we'll give you crap to wear.'
Seeing as I can't imagine ever finding the excuse to discuss clothing again, I might as well round off by making mention of dress codes for probation officers. Unthinkable a few years ago, some Trusts have either imposed codes or threatened to do so in the wake of some inappropriate attire both around the office and at court. You'd think commonsense would be sufficient but apparently not, a situation not helped by the now infamous case last year of the 'tartan trews' involving an officer in Hampshire.
Anyway, enjoy the sun while you can as the weather is set to change next week.