Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Integrity, Justice, Wisdom and Compassion.

I learned tonight that the ceremonial mace used in the Scottish Parliament bears the words "integrity, justice, wisdom and compassion", these presumably being the values that it is hoped will be manifest in all Holyrood's debates and doings.  I've never given any thought to the mace but found that interesting.  What great values to aspire to - not just for politicians but for all of us in every area of our lives!  Wouldn't Scotland be wonderful if we were all integrity-filled, just, wise and compassionate?

Monday, 10 March 2014

Tartan Clerical Shirt? A Follow-Up Post.

Following my last post I got an email from a retired colleague.  It was (a) nice to hear from him, (b) interesting to think someone is actually reading this blog, and (c) amazing to me to hear from him that my employer actually has a tartan.  I didn't know that.

Now as someone who mostly dresses in exotic labels such as Tesco and Asda, I'm not seriously thinking of having a bespoke clerical shirt (tartan) specially designed for me, but clearly if I was then SPS tartan would be the way to go.  In fact it could be made compulsory for all Scottish prison chaplains.  Or not!

Thursday, 6 March 2014

To Tartanise or Not to Tartanise - That is One of the Questions.

Last week, as I mentioned here, I decided that I'm going to wear a clerical shirt ("dog collar") one out of five days at work for a trial period, rather than not at all, to see what difference if any it makes - positive or negative.  

So I was interested to discover that it's possible to get a tartan clerical shirt (this is the men's version but they do them for girl ministers too apparently).  They're possibly on the cheesy side yet I find I'm quite tempted.  But maybe it would be taken as a political statement in this year of the big old Independence Referendum and I suppose chaplains shouldn't make their political allegiances clear since we're to be all things to all men.  I'm still undecided about which way to vote anyway, incidentally.  And now I'm undecided about tartan clerical shirts too.  Things are getting more complicated rather than clearer!

Monday, 3 March 2014

HMP & YOI Grampian

Today the new prison in Peterhead, HMP and YOI Grampian took its first prisoners.  They'll build up gradually over the next few weeks to full capacity rather than taking them all in one go.  I had a tour of the prison a few weeks ago.  It was very odd to be in a prison with staff but no prisoners!  In 2007 I visited one of its predecessors, HMP Peterhead, which along with HMP Aberdeen is now closed.  The Grampian prison has been built next door to the old and delapidated Peterhead jail, is a great improvement and much more fit for purpose.  It's not just a new building though.  HMP Peterhead was a specialist prison dealing with one category of prisoner.  HMP and YOI Grampian will take all categories but be postcode based, taking prisoners from the north-east of Scotland.  Statistics show that desistance from crime is more likely where there is a supportive family, so it's good to have prisons not too far from home so that prisoners' families (who're often struggling financially and in other ways) have shorter journeys to make in order to visit.  The visits will help maintain the relationships within the family and make reintegration into the family unit on release a bit easier.  It would be great if we didn't need any prisons so today probably isn't a day for celebration exactly, but it's a significant day and I hope that all goes well as staff and prisoners alike settle in. 

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Restorative justice? ;)

I'm interested in restorative justice and including victims in the justice process. This is a different reason why victims might want to meet offenders...

A man goes to the police station wanting to speak to the burglar who broke into his house the night before. 'That's not appropriate," he is told. "You can make a witness impact statement in court. That's the proper way to make your point.

'But I don't want to make a point, I just want to ask his advice,' says the man.
'I want to know how he got into our house in the middle of the night without waking my wife. I've been trying to do that for years!'