Why Choose the Probation Service?

Published 20/06/2007
Type Article
Author(s) Charlotte Knight
Corresponding Authors Charlotte Knight, School of Applied Social Sciences, De Montfort University

At a time of major re-organisation through the development of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) that brings together the work of the probation and prison services, this paper explores what it is that draws people into a career involving work with offenders. It asks the questions ‘what is it about working with offending behaviour that attracts people to this career’ and are the ‘right’ people being selected for training. It draws on a small research study that asked applicants to and students on, one of the prequalifying ‘Diploma in Probation Studies’ (DipPS) programmes in the UK, to comment on their reasons for choosing this career. It concludes that, like most other health and social care public sector organisations, the probation service is continuing to attract more women than men, based on a perception that, despite the rhetoric of ‘punishment and control’ it continues to be seen primarily as a service that ‘helps people’, and that this is a stronger influencing factor for women than it is for men in career choice.