Risky Needs

In my previous blog, Revolving Doors!, you met my mate ‘Fictitious Vic’ this time around I’d like to introduce you to another mate, Mr. Risky Needs, who some know as either ‘Risky’ or ‘Needy’.

Risky doesn’t have many friends, especially those willing to fight his corner. If I didn’t know any different, which many people don’t, I doubt very much if I would be Risky’s mate. His attitude stinks. He thinks responsibility is something for others to worry about, and that empathy is a new perfume from Gucci. Don’t get me started on his relationships with members of the opposite sex and his children, let alone his beliefs and offending behaviour. I thought my criminal record was bad, Risky makes mine look angelic.

Hold up!!

What am I doing?

Why am I his mate?

Simple, Risky isn’t my mate. Needy is.

Now and then, I see it. I notice and recognise the look Risky gives me.

A little boy staring out from adult eyes, screaming for help.

Needy is the total opposite of Risky. Caring, compassionate, understanding, a proper decent bloke who has gone through so much in his life. Most of it happening when he was a child. Unfortunately, no one would listen to Needy when he was the little boy now hiding in the eyes of someone society would label a failure and who would prefer to see the proverbial key thrown away, so we also hide the problem. It’s all Risky’s fault why should society be responsible for, what begun as, his ‘challenging and disruptive’ behaviour. A little white lie in this paragraph because there were some people that listened but listening and believing are two different things. Needy found it all counter-productive and extremely confusing. What 13-year-old wouldn’t? It made things worse for Needy. So much so, he thought to himself, fuck this! I ain’t saying anything to anyone, anymore. At that point, Needy was sent packing and hidden away. “Stand to one side, Needy, let me deal with this now” said Risky to no one other than himself. “I’ll protect us”.

By the way, I’m not justifying or excusing my mate Risky’s behaviour.

I’m quite privileged, now and then, I still get to talk to and see Needy. People have tried to help Risky, but it keeps going tits-up because Needy doesn’t get the help he wants. Everyone always wants to sort Risky out and/or punish him. That makes Needy go deeper underground. They have frequently found Risky accommodation. They’ve put him on offending behaviour courses, and skills training courses. They’ve found him employment. He has had education and further education opportunities. It’s all been there for Risky. Every opportunity to turn his life around.


No one thinks of Needy.

They just think, “Well, that’s Risky sorted.”

Soon followed by.

“What do you mean he’s offended again?”

If only Needy was listened to and believed all those years ago.

Meeting needs will produce far better results than managing risk.

#EarlyIntervention #InclusionNotExclusion #Empathy

One thought on “Risky Needs

  1. And who will take the time with your friend to find out the needs he has so that he no longer takes those risks? Surely it should be done prior to sentencing for the first offence, and for the second, but hard pressed and overworked probation officers do not do it and it is left to a barrister to make the same plea that judges hear each time whereas it should be done by someone professional who can see the fault line in lives and find ways not to paper over them but to fix them for good. Prison is not the best place to do it. Those sinister walls, the intimidating noise, the lack of privacy and peace. Will take someone and crush them completely.

    Liked by 1 person

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