Thursday, December 17, 2009


I seem to have a mental block at the moment. It may be that I am pouring any creativity I have into paintings for an exhibition next year (and gnawing over the results). Or maybe the issues that keep coming up are defeating me.

Take yesterday. Ex Alliance MP, Liz Gordon, released a report about the children of prisoners saying she was shocked at their circumstances; their poor physical and mental health and the inter-generational tendency for children of prisoners to also become prisoners. That's hardly surprising.

(Respondents = prisoners)

Yet the paper puts forward no ideas for how to break the cycle beyond an examination of current interventions. Talkback host, Danny Watson tried to elicit comments from his audience yesterday and only got 2. One from a teacher who relieves at a school where having a father in prison isn't remarkable and children seemed to take it for granted. CYF were generally involved and he felt that the only way to prevent inter-generational transfer was the remove the child completely from their current environment but conceded, that action in itself could cause more behavioural problems.

I am tired of pointing out that the incentives to have children, when totally ill-prepared to, have great bearing on outcomes years down the line. Not a solitary politician wants to develop that line of thinking or go down that road. So we seem stuffed.

Or perhaps I am still depressed about my recent failure (officially described as 'their' failure) to engage with exactly this sort of family. The organisation I work for had to pull the plug on the case after repeated missed home visits (I was there but they were not). I very much wanted to help this likeable client, the mother, yet there were other family members making it almost impossible. It makes you want to hit your head very hard against a brick wall when you can't get people to see the potential they have to make their lives better.

So I am at a low ebb.


Angus said...

Hi Lindsay,
Do you know of any facts & figures which may indicate how ubiquitous benefit fraud is ? . . always wanted to know.

Lindsay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lindsay said...

Prosecutions for benefit fraud in the 2005/06 financial year equalled 937.

In the 7 months to October 2009, prosecutions totalled 487, so looking like not much change.

But MSD investigated more than 26,400 cases of potential benefit fraud in 2008/09. Why so few result in prosecution, I don't know. I doubt that it is because no fraud took place. It's probably about the degree of the fraud.

rightochaps said...

Lindsay, in no way have you failed.

Keep working, keep campaigning. You have a lot of support.

Oswald Bastable said...

YOU are NOT the one who failed!

Lindsay said...

Thank you guys. My low ebbs don't last for long fortunately. Your comments help.

Anonymous said...

You are right to be concerned (but not feel you failed).

We absolutely need to place a time-limit on the DPB and unemployment benefits, and tighten up the criteria for sickness and invalid benefits.

Handing control over to people who don't accept that is a dereliction of duty to the taxpayer.