Few years ago, somebody called me a starfish person. I was too self-conscious (assuming that accidentally I had adopted the perfume of old fish or looked a bit gangly with too many arms) to ask what they meant.
Subsequently, and somewhat playing to my insecurities, I have been called a starfish person a few times.
So, I finally asked what they meant. Apparently, this is a person who, finding themselves surrounded by stranded starfish washed up on the beach throws them all back into the sea. Assuming that, no matter how much effort, it is worth it, even if just one or two are okay.
I’ve thought about this quite a lot and don’t get me wrong, it is a lovely and flattering analogy, I just think I am a bit more of a jellyfish person.
Why? Well, because I’m not on the beach. I’m already in the water and have been for a long time. I imagine I am swimming at sea surrounded by hundreds, if not thousands of jellyfish.
Let me explain… Everyone we work with (and I should assure you that they are not usually gelatinous or stingy) has, we estimate, around 100 people who have been affected by their crime: victims, family, friends, employers, neighbours, police, etc etc.
So, if I am honest, most of my life has been getting to know and understand individuals who have got themselves on the wrong side of society and the law.
Listening and trying to understand life stories (like so many people who work in this area) means I have got to know a lot (really a lot) of people. For this analogy… thousands of jellies.
I do worry (in the wee small hours) that this bank of information on an ever-expanding shoal of jellyfish is itself becoming unsustainable, a bit too wibbly-wobbly jelly-like.
But waiting for the jellyfish to be washed up on the shoreline and then chucking them back in is too late.
Which is why we are employing Jamie Stephenson as our new full-time Resettlement Manager, to help spread the load (shoal) and continue to develop and deliver our rehabilitation support. He starts later this month.
You will be reassured and pleased to know his background and training is in probation, not marine biology but I know he will completely understand this blog.
2nd September 2021