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Probation worker wins top award
11:00am Monday 19th August 2013 in Local News
A PROBATION worker, who “goes the extra mile” to put criminals back on the straight and narrow has won a top award.
Melanie Bigg, who works for Essex Probation and is based in Basildon, beat 120 other finalists from across England and Wales to be named National Probation Champion.
She also gained another accolade when she was named winner of the “management of offenders” category.
Melanie was presented with the awards by Jeremy Wright, minister for prisons and probation.
She said: “I’m so thrilled to win,Ididn’t expect it at all. It makes all the hard work worthwhile.”
The judging panel heard how Melanie had dealt with a man who had a string of convictions for violence and domestic violence.
One probation worker who had already worked with the man described him as one of the most difficult offenders she had ever managed.
Melanie managed to get him on a domestic violence programme, got him into accommodation and employment and got him to re-establish contact with his children and grandchildren.
Two years on, he has not reoffended.
She also worked with an armed robber who spent his life going in and out of prison and, after not being allowed to live with his partner and children, resigned himself to returning to jail.
But, after getting him into counselling for his drug and alcohol problems, the man is now clean, sees his family regularly and has not re-offended.
The man said of Melanie, she “went the extra mile” to help him.
Phil Copple, of the National Offender Management Service, said: “Judging certainly was extremely difficult, but I felt Melanie stood out in respect of her exceptional ability to engage often difficult offenders and motivate them to change their ways.”
Mary Archer, chief executive of Essex Probation, said: “We’re all really proud of Melanie. Her work has been judged to be at the top of a very able group of probation workers across the country.”
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