Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Time for Reflection - Again

To my amazement it's this blog's second anniversary. I'm genuinely surprised because along the way many a time I've struggled with writers block, together with an overwhelming sense of my just repeating myself. But then, typically when I'm down and think it's all been said, something comes along and I can't seem to stop myself just getting it all off my chest.

Of course it's a cliche, but writing has proved to be very therapeutic. I don't know if it's ever apparent, but I often find myself laughing out loud as I type, so empowering does the process feel. The blog has taken me to some surprising places both intellectually and emotionally. Almost without exception the feedback has been both touching and thought-provoking. I can well understand how lonely an author of a book must feel once it's published and all the friends and family have finished feeling obliged to read it and pass comment. It just goes into a big black hole it seems to me, unlike a blog that grows and develops dynamically. The 'hit' counter keeps telling you that someone, somewhere might actually be reading it. With nearly 400 posts, I think I've possibly written that book I didn't think I had in me.

I never really expected to get much in the way of private e-mails, but contact from clients, former clients, relatives of clients, victims, worried and confused individuals together with numerous authors, trainee journalists and other media types has been both revelatory and taxing. It was a serious shock I can tell you to receive an e-mail from a former Chief Inspector of Probation only some twenty minutes after publishing an admittedly complimentary piece about them. Funnily enough, no follow up e-mail was forthcoming when some months later I had a pop at them. 

Actually I've been pondering the whole thing about endorsement and acknowledgement recently - or should I say conspicuous lack of. Considering there is still so little out there on the internet about probation, I think there continues to be a role for an independently-minded contribution from an 'old school' officer like myself. More than ever, I conclude there's plenty of scope for carrying on with an unofficial view of the whole probation landscape, and in contrast to the new breed of officially-sanctioned facebook pages, tweeting and blogging that's trying to influence public opinion. The elephant in the room will be sticking around for a bit longer yet.

Still a relative newbie, I'm extremely gratified to have collected over 140,000 hits in two years - they can't all be friends and family, so thank you once again dear reader, wherever you may be.        


  1. I would guess that you have more than double the number of hits you record. I normally read your blog via Google Reader. I think this takes an RSS feed and you get no acknowledged reader. Most users of Tablets and phones will do something similar.
    Good luck and thanks for the Blog
    (a Sentencer)

  2. I also read your blog via google reader.
    For me, living in argentina, and working as a Judge specialized in jails (like the Jueces de Control of Spain) your blog make mi think a lot of how I work and try to work better with the few help I have.
    Please continue as today
    Juan Pablo Chirinos

    1. Thanks both for that. I had no idea mobile devices didn't show up on the stats!

  3. Jim,

    Do continue to keep the flag flying for front line Probation practice/workers.. at yet another crossroads moment.. with the appt of the dour C Grayling as Justice Secretary & imminent announcement of MoJ response to the future shape of PS? & PCC 's arriving on the CJ scene soon ..lots to scrutinise in your blog...maybe C Grayling's words as Shadow Home Secretary to the CCJS will offer a thread for future posts..

    And with help from the academic community and experts on the front line, I am determined to improve the quality of life in our communities and to restore public confidence in our criminal justice system. .

    Hope to see you at AGM....I am seconding 2 GLBranch motions..who will be at the rostrum this year!



    1. Nice to hear from you Mike - I've been catching up on your writing fairly recently and intend to flag it up on here shortly - hope you don't mind?