PROBATION, THE NEED FOR ANTI-OPPRESSIVE PRACTICE AFTER REUNIFICATION: AN EXAMINATION OF HISTORY AND POLICY

The probation service is at a crossroad in its history with the two sectors, the National Probation Service and the privatised Community Rehabilitation Companies being reunited. This is a good time to examine discrimination both within the criminal justice system, including probation, and in society to improve the service and experience for staff and service users. The article provides the reader with a detailed literature review on discrimination in criminal justice, its history, policy and practice over time. It starts with the beginning of anti-racist practice ideas and continues up to the present time, with the latest report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation (2021) thematic inspection. This report, like its two predecessors, in 2000 and 2004, details how people of colour, both probation professionals and clients have reported being disadvantaged. There is evidence to show that this is beyond personal reflection. Targets in subsequent action plans should include addressing disproportionality, outcomes of probation supervision, breach and recall, improving life chances for ethnic minorities and developing a race equality strategy for people on probation, drawing on the evidence base. This can only take place if practitioners hold anti-oppressive practice at the centre of professional practice, with the need to build and develop trusting relationships with their clients.

Read More

CALL FOR PAPERS: Special issue on community responses to the prevention of ‘radicalisation’ and hateful or violent extremism

What explains the persistence of ethnic and racial disparities within the criminal justice system in the UK and other jurisdictions and how should they be addressed? Whilst there is far reaching agreement that such disparities exist and need to be eliminated or mitigated, the explanations for these differential outcomes are more contested.

Read More

BEYOND INDIVIDUAL TRAUMA: TOWARDS A MULTI-FACETED TRAUMA-INFORMED RESTORATIVE APPROACH TO YOUTH JUSTICE THAT CONNECTS INDIVIDUAL TRAUMA WITH FAMILY REPARATION AND RECOGNITION OF BIAS AND DISCRIMINATION.

This article outlines findings from surveys and interviews with young people and their parents/caregivers in a Youth Offending Service (YOS) in London. The YOS worked to a model of three elements, these being: trauma-informed practice; restorative justice; awareness of unconscious bias. The article presents a literature review that explores these key elements of the YOS model before presenting the findings that emerge from the data. We found the trauma-recovery approach builds resilience, hope for the future, and a positive sense of self-identity in young people

Read More

A Simple Idea for Complex Lives

The following explores a proposal once made by a Probation service-user but fundamentally asks how the Future of Probation can adapt to facilitate and advocate such voices from those with Lived Experience.

Read More

BRINGING COMMUNITY WEALTH BUILDING TO JUSTICE: BACK TO A MUTUAL FUTURE FOR PROBATION?

In this think piece and position paper we consider mutual and cooperative solutions to key resettlement challenges, we believe to be germane to a focus on the future of probation post 2020. We argue that Senior and colleagues’ (2016) identification of the relational co-production of rehabilitation within local communities as key to successful probation can equally well be understood in terms of ‘mutuality’ and cooperation in service delivery. We argue that this essence of probation can be re-captured in contemporary rehabilitation services by integrating probation practice more with the community, ideally in a context of broader efforts towards achieving economic fairness within localities. We report on one such initiative tied in with the distinct form of new municipal local economic development, defined as community wealth building being pioneered in Preston in the North West of England. This ‘Preston Model’ provides a context for discussing particular cooperative development work designed coproductively to better support offender resettlement. Our work in ‘bringing the Preston Model to Justice’ arguably has great potential for wider application in the quest for successful community re-entry and a positive impact upon desistance.

Read More

READING BETWEEN THE BARS: EVALUATING PROBATION, REMODELLING OFFENDERS, AND REDUCING RECIDIVISM

Probation has been in existence in Singapore for more than 70 years. Given its long existence and vested interest in community-based sentencing, this paper calls for an effective measurement of probation officers training and supervision of the offenders measured against recidivism. First the paper focuses on the genesis and evolution of probation coupled with a brief description of programs conducted by probation officers since its introduction till its present iteration, along with its merits. The emphasis lies in the shift from a supervisory program to one which proactively seeks to transform behaviour, hence reaffirming remodelling character of probation. Second, it is recommended that effectiveness of training, supervision of offenders by Probation Officers be measured against the rate of recidivism. To this end, it is proposed that effectiveness of probation can only be measured against recidivism given that probation targets criminogenic needs of offenders. An evaluation of data presented on recidivism suggests that while the recidivism rate is decreasing, it does not maximize the potential role of Probation Officers. Third, training along the lines of Strategic Training Initiative in Community Supervision (STICs) program can be considered to enhance lower recidivism rates. Lastly, it is recommended that Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) be conducted for evidence-based policy making in criminal justice system, since RCTs can be useful in assessing the efficacy of probation as a community-based sentencing tool, particularly whether the policy orientation of probation meets the goal of reducing crime.

Read More