It was heartwarming to read the comments on my last post about Patrick, and also to hear from other friends who've contacted me about it. Homepaddock, I'm so sorry you too belong to this "club no one wants to join" - exactly.
Tonight the news featured the father of the young child killed by a young man's poor driving. I'm putting it that way because of course he never meant to swerve onto the pavement, he wasn't going particularly fast, and he immediately did everything he could to help. He was so devastated that he had tried to commit suicide.
The father didn't want him to go to prison, and said everything he could to support him. Such a change from the "lock 'em up and throw away the key" stance, which would have been perfectly understandable in the circumstances.
I read recently (sorry, I can't recall where) that two-thirds of those in prison are in for less than a year. This means they have no access to most of the programmes on offer. What on earth is the point, then? Especially as those we (the respectable ones, that is) lock up are highly likely to be illiterate and/or deaf and/or abused and/or mentally ill and/or addicted. Whereas the smooth white collar ones rarely go to prison, even though it can reasonably be argued that they have had infinitely more chances in life and have still chosen to rip people off, so they actually deserve more severe punishment.
So I'd like to say thank you to that bereaved father, too, for showing such courage, generosity and kindness, and wanting the young man to be all he could be, since the little boy couldn't.