‘Twas the day before, the day before Christmas, an early frost upon the ground.

The phone rings… “All right pal, it’s Dean. Yeah, Chris I’m lost, I don’t know where the f#@k I am!”

….Phone goes dead.

I like Dean; he was the first man to explain what “doing the onion” was all about. And we sort of did it together. As you do! “Not easy Chris, it can make you cry mate, know what I mean… it’s f#@king exposing yourself, innit.”

Yup he’s right.

Peeling back emotional armour, layer by layer. The fear of looking at yourself, your past, your victims…can be too much. But for real change, you pretty much must do a bit of peeling.

If only it were straight forward and predictable we could be a ‘rehabilitation sausage factory’. However, unlike ‘sausages’, problematic individuals tend to just jump off conveyor belts, en masse!

Our evidence demonstrates that breaking the offending cycle is arbitrary and erratic, the process unscientific. Some people totally embrace it, while others get hopelessly stuck.

An example…Two men with many similarities. Same age (22), both have lived in over 50 child care placements, they’re intelligent and have an inner core of ‘decency’… all carefully hidden behind the mask of being “F#@ked Up”!

In their time at LandWorks I don’t know quite how much ‘onioning’ went on… it really is not an exact science, but I certainly felt that we tidied up a lot of peelings!

One is now absolutely flourishing.

The other (very sadly) is crashing down.


It is so hard to say. In an ideal world, you would pick your winners, the ones who are going to do it.

Trouble is it ain’t like that. A lot of offenders want to change, but there are multiple variables involved in transformation. It’s a complex and singular journey. As the layers peel away, we start to discover how challenged they are and this can take months!

Becoming self-resilient is rarely a straight-line trajectory. However if the blips and the criminal activities are steadily decreasing, or best of all gone, then increasingly you have success. As at LandWorks.

Dean’s back on the phone…

“It’s all right, just couldn’t see…. Yeah, I’m okay. Got in a fight, my eyes are proper swollen, can’t see anything…

…I’m not lost, got you lot innit! – Happy Christmas Pal.”