I am sitting at my desk looking at a letter. The letter is from a young lady who appeared before me for sentence in January 2006. She had been dealing class A drugs. I imposed a suspended sentence with a Drug Treatment and Testing Order. That was on the lenient side of lenient, but what I had read suggested that it might work and she brought her Mum to court. I asked to hear from Mum, who seemed very sensible. I looked at the young lady. And, without being in the least bit confident about my own prescience, I took a deep breath…
The letter tells me that this young lady is now drug free. She has a job. She is buying a house. She has a daughter who is living with her. She thinks I saved her life, which I think is wrong – she saved her own life (there is little doubt that drugs would have killed her by now) by the actions she took. And the probation service saved her life.
I have never had a letter like that before and I was really very touched that this young lady had taken the trouble to write. The law affects peoples’ lives. Sometimes it is nice to have proof that what you do makes a difference.

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