Complex complicity: A practice note from a woman of colour on the frontline

AuthorMariam Rashid
Published date01 June 2022
Date01 June 2022
Subject MatterPractice Note
Complex complicity:
A practice note from
a woman of colour
on the frontline
Mariam Rashid
HM Prison and Probation Service, UK
I work as a Probation Ofcer; I have been doing this job for almost 15 years. I work
primarily with men and have worked in major cities in England. I am a minority in
England, both ethnically and religiously. I am a woman, and my family are migrants
from Africa, and their grandparents were indentured labour from India. In all the
ways I am different, I also often share histories of migration, of minority experience
and of being an outsider with many of those I work with. This is the conversation I
have with myself most mornings: Can you consider yourself an activist? I ask myself.
Can you call yourself an activist, an anti-racist whilst working within this criminal just-
ice system? Can you continue in this work and not betray yourself, your Muslim-ness,
your brown-ness, your working class-ness, your immigrant-ness?
race and ethnicity, probation practice, institutional racism, racial disparities, equality
Some mornings the answer is No!’… Then on my commute I research other jobs,
frantically trying to gure out how I can hand in my notice and walk into a sunset
where my life decisions are consistent with the morals I aspire too. Usually, by the
time I reach the ofce I have panicked about nancial security, memories of scarcity
are triggered, and Im reminded how fragile life feels and how quickly I still believe I
Corresponding Author:
Mariam Rashid, HM Prison and Probation Service, 128 Rochdale Road, Manchester OL1 2JG, United
Practice Note The Journal of Communit
and Criminal Justice
Probation Journal
2022, Vol. 69(2) 245249
© The Author(s) 2022
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/02645505221093202

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