This is the official blog of ex-Sgt Ellie Bloggs. I was a real live police constable then sergeant for twelve years, on the real live front line of England. I'm now a real live non-police person. All the facts I recount are true, and are not secrets. If they don't want me blogging about it, they shouldn't do it. PS If you don't pay tax, you don't (or didn't) pay my salary.

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Monday, July 06, 2009

Recoil from Prison

Every other day in Blandmore a fax is received at Headquarters announcing that someone somewhere on our "patch" has been recalled to prison.

A person is released early from prison when they've been extra good and managed not to stab anyone during their jail term. They are recalled back again if they misbehave when out, the way they did to get them put in jail to start with. To put things in perspective, it's pretty difficult to get yourself locked up nowadays. So if you manage it, it's quite likely you're going to keep doing whatever you did to get put inside.

In case you were wondering how the probation service decide who gets released early, they weigh up all kinds of factors such as likelihood of reoffending, history of offending, severity of crime, etc, and then kick them out anyway because they need the cell for someone else.

As a police officer, I get passed the fax telling me to go and bring someone back to prison. Usually with their address given as the bail hostel they are supposed to be living at, and which they aren't living at, hence the breach. I go to the hostel, find that they aren't living there, and put the fax in the bin. If the person never commits another crime and so never comes into contact with the police again, they will never, ever be caught. Funnily enough, we're not too bothered about locking up people who haven't committed any more crime. A prize for the reader who guesses how often that happens.

The stupidest, most idiotic and troubling thing about the whole laughable charade is that nine times out of ten the probation service know full well that these people are going to breach their conditions when they release them. But they do it anyway, because they need the cells.

We all know that ridiculous sentences are being handed out daily for crimes as heinous as rape and murder. We all know that in most cases the offenders will not serve even half of the time announced. And yet we are surprised that thousands of people are at large who shouldn't be, and that they're out there repeating the crimes that sent them to jail in the first place.

I'm aware that I sound somewhat like a Daily Mail reporter. I'm not devoid of compassion, and believe it or not consider myself fairly liberal. I just have this old-fashioned, backward attitude that the Criminal Justice System might run more effectively if the police didn't have to do every job twice.

Apart from saving money, we might even- gasp- save lives.

'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in some bookstores and online.


Anonymous Mac said...

Of all the farcical situations in the police/Criminal justice system, early release and recall to prison is the most farcical.
And yet Jack Straw uses the very same figures that prove it, as evidence that the government are tough on criminals. They can't even interpret their own data.
I long since gave up on expecting honesty from this government but the stupidity/incompetence keeps amazing me.
IG has posted on the same subject as it's in the news and the sensible comments, even from the usually antagonistic, shows that no one is falling for this crap.

07 July, 2009 12:30

Anonymous Defunctymounty said...

Lock em up and make em work.

That way they are not free to roam the streets and beat me up at bus-stops.

07 July, 2009 17:59

Anonymous Inspector Bodgit said...


Liberal elite, Liberal Elite


(That's my entire act, folks!)

08 July, 2009 13:19

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting attitude. Sonnex was recalled because he'd done something wrong and I guess the police sent to find him binned the fax and couldn't be bothered. Still, he was found because he did something else wrong.

08 July, 2009 15:37

Anonymous R/T said...

Ellie - you seem to be attracting more than your fair share of idiots at the mo. I hope that when they leave primary school they'll stop.
Plus - I can't understand why you don't seem to get anything like as many replies as you used to. Hope you keep going. It was your book that got the ball rolling for my partner and I!

08 July, 2009 16:43

Anonymous R/T said...

Or should I say : "my partner and me"

I really should try to remember the difference between nominative, objective and possesive personal pronouns!

Anyway, my partner Steve, makes a beautiful roast chicken dinner!!


08 July, 2009 20:49

Blogger Inspector Leviathan Hobbes said...

R/T - I think the reason there are few comments is because Ellie speaks the sense we all want to read! There's no arguing against what she writes - and writes well.

09 July, 2009 12:05

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reduction in comments could have something to do with Bloggsy's comment, above the 'leave your comment' box. It's a bit Grrrrrrrrrr isn't it?

Anyway, Jack Straw. Well, what a disappointment. He tried to make things fairer by attempting to alter the secret family courts, because of the abuses of power that have gone on. Whitehall civil servants blocked it, which beggars belief.

Rapists and murderers are let out of prison early, but Ronald Biggs, the train robber who is on his last legs was refused parole. An innocent Liverpool lad who was charged with attempted murder in a foreign country, and then transfered back to the UK, has not been pardoned by Straw, despite the fact that the guilty man confessed to the crime.

Perhaps all the chaos that has been going on in Westminster is affecting Jack Straw's ability to think straight and DO 'Justice'.

10 July, 2009 03:07

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The probation service do not get to decide who is released - the prison service and the parole board do! We frequently oppose release for the reasons you state - because we know full well they will do it again - yet 'overcrowding' targets outweigh risk....

17 July, 2009 13:01


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