Letter: I am proof that alternatives to jail work

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I ACCEPT that some offences warrant custody ('Out of control', Inside Story, 14 February), yet I feel these are in the minority. People who offend are human beings and we live in a humane society. For the life of me I can't understand why society's misfits or petty criminals are, on the whole, eventually incarcerated when in fact they could be screaming for attention. York Court Probation Centre in Avon gave me that attention. At York Court when you do something well you are praised for it. That is a fact not an opinion. I know this as I'm completing a six-month intensive rehabilitation programme which includes acquiring cognitive skills, aims, goals, achievements, self-respect, and respect for others.

I'm an offender with a bad criminal record, including one long-term sentence. In the six months I've been on this course as an alternative to prison I haven't dropped litter, let alone committed an offence. This works.

L P Traynor

Bristol, Avon