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Oh, somebody’s waving at me and it looks like they’ve got a book in their hands.

I walk down to meet them at the shop, I reckon it’s one of our second-hand books they’re brandishing. We’ve started to sell, well actually request a donation for, pre- used cookery books (in the shop now).

“Hello, we’re looking for Chris.”

“That’s me.” I say cheerfully, ready to agree that £5 is a good donation.

“No, we are hoping to meet Chris.” They look slightly awkward. “You know, the guy in charge.”

“Err you’ve found him, it’s me.” It doesn’t seem to be quite what they wanted to hear.

“Oh, sorry.” Awkward pause…. “Just, well you don’t look like your photo.”

Fortunately, I do know it’s me.

Like most of us I can prove my identity with relative ease. In stark contrast to a lot of our guys arriving at LandWorks who have served time in prison (also some community sentences) and have no means of proving who they are.

This always strikes me as completely ridiculous…  Because if you think about it the Court process has already had to prove an individual’s identity. The individual’s identity and address are then closely monitored by the National Probation Service (NPS).

This identity verification is surprisingly not available to be used outside of the Criminal Justice System (CJS).

As you can imagine, no ID can be an instant blocker to successful resettlement, just another statement that you are not wanted back into the community.

At LandWorks we start the process of building evidence to prove who a person is and where they live, to obtain ID. Which is required for just about everything, housing, banking, etc.

  • We request and pay for a birth certificate copy.
  • Request a national insurance number to be sent to an address, so we can start to prove an address exists.
  • On and on, until we have enough evidence to prove an identity.

I have a straightforward, practical solution, but first a recap…

  1. We can all agree that once an individual is in the CJS their identity is proven.
  2. The NPS, now a very IT lead organisation, have constantly updated records of who an individual is and (critically) where they live.

Solution… An identity reference from the NPS is made legitimate.

And I will update my website photo.


9th February 2023