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‘My world consists of murderers, rapists and armed robbers,’ states one of the remarkable probation officers in this fascinating documentary. Her job sounds hideous, even potentially damaging. Time is spent assessing borderline-illegal pornography to decide on its legal status. Or listening to paedophiles attempting to justify their actions and deciding on the level of risk they present. Or just hanging out with hopeless recidivists as they beg for one more chance.
The cases we explore range from the deplorable (violent kidnapper David) to the pitiful (schizophrenic Roger, who obeyed the voices in his head and assaulted his mother). What they share is their cost in both time and money, the uncertainty of their conclusion and most of all, their absolute necessity. Whatever it takes, someone has to do this stuff. Let’s hope Chris Grayling watches this film before he goes ahead and privatises the probation service.