Probation in the News: Transforming Rehabilitation

Published 12/03/2014
Type Article
Author(s) Jake Phillips
Corresponding Authors Jake Phillips, Lecturer in Criminology, Sheffield Hallam University

This article presents an analysis of the main themes from the media debates around the Government’s plans to privatise 70% of Probation Trusts’ work. The themes which were identified revolved around the effectiveness, aims and rationale of the reforms. The article argues that opponents to the reforms have played a defensive game presenting a picture of probation which simply mirrors the last ten years of the new Labour era in which managerialism and micro-management characterised the service and have neglected to put forward a more positive argument in terms of what a public probation service can achieve. On the other hand, supporters of the reforms appear to have made considerable use of the tendency of the media to simplify complex issues and appear to have taken heed of the research into the public’s attitudes towards rehabilitation in order to garner support for the reforms. The article concludes by considering some alternative strategies and arguments that might have been put forward by opponents in order to mount a more successful case against the reforms.