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06-05-06, 08:36 AM #1
Ex-New York cop sacked from probation service for putting public safety first
As a police officer on the streets of New York, it was Terrence Houlahan's duty to protect the public from violent crooks.
But when he moved to Britain and joined the probation service in Essex, he was shocked to discover there was quite a different approach to law and order.
Mr Houlahan, 39, repeatedly clashed with his new bosses because they failed to discipline or send back to prison criminals who breached the terms of their community sentences or parole.
The situation reached breaking point when Mr Houlahan refused to join collective cheering for a fictional character called 'Billy the offender' at a motivational conference.
The New Yorker was sacked after an official report into his behaviour found 'he appears to see public protection as the key task in his role and could not identify with the idea of rehabilitation of offenders'.
In one astonishing case, Mr Houlahan was staggered when a man of 23 who breached the terms of his licence by threatening his parents was given an 'anger diary' instead of being put behind bars.
Weeks later the thug assaulted his mother and father and beat up a police officer. He was sentenced to four months in prison.
Mr Houlahan now plans to take the probation service to an employment tribunal.
He claims he was unfairly dismissed last October after complaints of insubordination, inappropriate behaviour towards colleagues and unauthorised absence. He was also found to have breached health and safety rules by failing to take a full hour off for his lunch break.
Mr Houlahan, who moved to Britain after meeting his British wife Nichola, told The Sunday Times: "I wanted to bring the skills I learnt as an NYPD cop to the probation service.
"Seeing the results of crime on the ground, I thought it was my duty to help protect the public.
'More interested in rights of offender
"The probation service were more interested in the so-called rights of the offender and hellbent on keeping him out of jail than actually looking at the facts."
Last month it emerged that more than 10,000 crimes a month are committed by offenders on probation. Mr Houlahan, of Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire, is a former sergeant in the US special forces. He served with the New York Police Department from 1998 to 2000.
He agrees that the reform of offenders is important, but believes public protection must come first.
"Working for the probation service was totally different from how I imagined it," he said. "I didn't join it to sit in swanky hotels cheering for Billy the offender but to protect the public."
In another incident, he was suspended for three weeks for 'violating the confidentiality' of a criminal he had removed from a group workshop because he was racially insulting participants. Mr Houlahan claims he was told by managers that the offender had only insulted others 'when he was angry'.
Essex probation service declined to comment on the detail of Mr Houlahan's allegations or on its policies, because of the possible legal action. A spokesman said: "Mr Houlahan was dismissed after a thorough disciplinary investigation, and a subsequent appeal, which was unanimously dismissed. "The probation service has as its absolute primary aim the prevention of further crime."
Just another example of how this country is going downhill! However click on the link and you will see from the readers comments just how much support Officer Houlahan has!
06-05-06, 08:48 AM #2
Wow, he's getting much love by the public, hopefuly he will win the tribunal.Just because your sign off after you're shift is done, doesn't mean that it's over and put blinders on. You're a cop 24/7 wether you like it or not. If thats something you can't handle, you should find a new line of work!
06-05-06, 09:00 AM #3
I don't mean to offend anyone, especially our members from the UK, but the probation service should be ashamed of themselves. Rehabilitation of habitual criminals begins with a strong hand and a watchful eye. I don't see probation as part of rehabilitating someone, It's an extension of thier punishment. Criminals that have committed offenses worthy of long prison terms need to be weened into law abiding society by placing strict sanctions on their behavior. I feel they need to prove their own worth by succeeding on limited freedom and privileges. A status quo is necessary for a society to function and if someone can not meet it's expectations, they are counter productive to the greater good.
06-05-06, 09:08 AM #4
Absolutely no offence taken, I agree with you entirely!
Originally Posted by lesta311
06-05-06, 11:50 AM #5FishTail Guest
Peace and love conquers all!
BS, it allows criminals a free ride!
06-05-06, 01:33 PM #6
It's what my dad always said, as he was an officer in the UK for awhile, before moving to NY. That Britian was going to become a nanny state and that the offenders were going to more rights then the vitim's so it's almost a free ticket for them to do whatever they want as they know there punishment isn't going to be that bad.
06-05-06, 01:42 PM #7
And with wingnuts like the ACLU out there, we're on the same path..."My motivation is slipping, people bug me, and I'm tired of wasting my time on drivel."
- Rep. Otis Pike (D - NY)
06-05-06, 01:51 PM #8
We are facing the same problems with the department of corrections in California. It's a known fact that paroles reoffend at a very high rate. How did California reduce the rate of recidivism of those on parole? They changed the criteria for which parolees can be returned to custody. Misdemeanor crimes, failed drug tests & even some felony crimes to do not get you sent back to prison. Very innovative to say the least. The lack of consideration for the law abiding public is unacceptable.
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