Race Equality in Probation Services in England and Wales: A Procedural Justice Perspective

Published 18/07/2022
Type Article
Author(s) Kevin Ball, Avtar Singh & Trevor Worsfold
Corresponding Authors


Probation services in England and Wales supervise over 240,000 people sentenced by the courts or after they have left prison; around one in eight of these people are from a non-white ethnic minority (Ministry of Justice, 2022). Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation recently published their inspection report on the experiences of ethnic minority people on probation and staff. From fieldwork across five areas, the inspectors found significant problems in the quality of relationships between probation workers and ethnic minority people on probation, and reported significant gaps in the availability of services and interventions.

This article will review the policy landscape of probation provision for ethnic minorities, summarise the inspection findings and official data, and provide an analysis of the narrative data collected in the fieldwork with probation staff and people on probation. We will analyse the narratives of those involved in probation provision for ethnic minorities through the lens of procedural justice, which encompasses the elements of understanding the process taking place; having a voice in that process; feeling that you have been treated with respect; and having trust in the fairness of the process (Hunter et al., 2020).