I asked myself this the other day because of some interactions I had with people recently released to Probation. One thing I do like about our agency, is unlike other agencies who refer to these people as 'clients', we call a spade a spade, and refer to them as offenders. Mainly because that's what they are, criminal offenders who have broken the law. Apparently, some of them don't know that we know that.
I met one female offender the other day, who obviously thinks I look like Cletus, from the Simpsons.
Image shamelessly stolen from the website, that stole it from the website, that stole it from the website, that stole it from The Simpsons.
Just lift up those bangs to show the scars from the frontal lobotomy, and I guess you'd have a picture of what this woman saw me as.
Generally, when I'm processing someone, I ignore most of what they're saying to try and explain why they are on Probation. It's almost always a misunderstanding, or someone else's fault, they just happened to be the one charged, and pled it out just to "get it over with".
On a side note, I've never understood how committing yourself to seeing me for the next few years, with the threat of years in prison hanging over your head if you screw up, gets anything "over with", but I digress.
For whatever reason, the things she was saying just got on my nerves, so I started listening to her. She was going on about how she'd never been in trouble before, how she'd just fallen in with a bad crowd, etc, etc. Then she started squeezing out some tears, for pity I guess. That was the last straw.
I said "really?", and flipped open her file. So, you're on probation for crime X, hunh? Looks like you were first arrested and convicted of crime X in 1997, again in 1999, and again in 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, and this final time in 2009, where you were busted for committing crime X a number of times, over 4 different states. That's why you're actually on Probation for crime X-a. That little -a means "Enhancement for 3rd or subsequent offense", which why you're on probation for three years, for what is normally a 30 day charge. Because you keep getting caught for the same crap, you now have to deal with me for the next three years, and if you screw it up, you're facing seven long years down the road.
At this point, the tears were real. Of course, even sobs don't cut it when you just lied to my face, and I had to call out your life story. Sobbing and saying how this is the turning point in your life, and you'll be on the straight and narrow is also a wash. See those little sticks in the cup of your urine there, those tell me you've been doing three different prescription drugs in the two days since you've been out.
What, no viable prescriptions in your name? I didn't think so. That little screw up just cost you $500 worth of substance abuse counseling. Sign at the X, be back here Monday, and if you're dirty again, we'll ditch the classes, and you can explain it to the judge.
Just a tip, you might get away with the "I've never been in trouble before" coupled with a squeeze of the cleavage routine with some rookie still filled with idealism. However, pulling that crap with the graybeard holding your thirty page rap sheet, is just stupid, and digging yourself deeper before you even get started.
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