Source: (2007) Probation Journal. 54(4): 423–433In an intensely personal account the author provides a first-hand account of his experiences of the criminal justice system from the perspective of offender, victim and probation officer. Using these insights he reflects on crime and punishment, restoration and the role of the National Probation Service. He was born in prison. By age six he was stealing. On his own at 17 and on the streets, he lived a life of crime. What useful skills would such a man have? Turning his life around, he put himself through university then took his very unique perspective on life to the National Probation Service where for over a decade he worked as probation officer, guiding others off the path he was once on himself. As someone who has ‘been there’, he offers us his views on crime and punishment and ponders the future of the criminal justice system and the role of the National Probation Service, the largely unsung hero in the forefront of public protection and the way offenders are rehabilitated.