Just over a year ago I was about to be drawn into a deeper and darker place, accepting and taking a punishment for a crime that never even happened, and I never knew what to expect at my first meeting with probation.
Immediately after sentencing the probation officer followed me out and ushered me into her office(the doom of hell where all criminals burn to death). She wrote down a time, date, name and place and told me to report to this lady two days later.
On the way out I asked my solicitor what 15 rehabilitation days entailed, but he just told me to get them completed within the first year of my two-year suspended sentence. Why wouldn’t anyone tell me about my first probation meeting, after all, it would be the first and last time this ever happens to me again.
When I got home, I was completely wrecked and stunned by what had happened. Why did it happen? How did it happen and why me? It all stemmed from someone who was jealous of me and decided to unfriend me because she was a drug addict with her own issues.
I browsed the internet to find information about what you did when meeting probation but was disappointed to see that there wasn’t any information around about this. Probably because people who are on probation are angry, ashamed and afraid to speak out, in fear of being judged by shallow and judgemental people who think that having a criminal record equals a trouble maker.
I arrived 10 minutes early at my first meeting with Probation. There was a room booked inside a unit of an industrial estate. I spent about two hours filling out forms about myself and my family. One of the things that annoyed me was when she wanted to know my involvement with children and the ages and addresses and where they lived at. I was so angry I started getting irritable and I gave her a false address and a false national insurance number.
She appeared very judgemental and patronising and even brought up a charge that was dropped because there wasn’t enough evidence because I wasn’t guilty. The only thing I was guilty of was suffering from an undiagnosed mental health problem and I was treated like I was one of Satan’s bad children.
She was your typical old school, very strict on rules and short and fat in her late 40s to early 50s. She also accused me of fighting with the police! How ridiculous, I was told to plead guilty to something I never did to stop a trial. I never hit anyone, besides 3 trained police officers. Two men and a woman against me? I am untrained and not very tall and unarmed? Yet it was me who ended up with a serious back injury which I still have to this day. Lucky for me, I’m riding through the pain and have stopped taking the painkillers. I have even started to run again if you told me this a year ago I wouldn’t believe you.
The Probation Officer then told me that she wanted me to meet a colleague of hers, from a woman’s charity and she made another appointment to meet her and her colleague in a cafe in town. She also told me that meetings with her will be monthly and that they won’t count towards my rehabilitation sessions.
What was your first probation session like? Are you or someone you know on probation or have previously experienced it? Let is know in the comments below or join in the discussions on our social media pages.