Voices from Practice – What Probation Has Been and What It Could Become

  • John DeeringEmail author


This chapter considers the degree to which two different constituencies agree about the purposes and values of the probation service. The official government view is examined alongside those of probation practitioners, using ‘voices from practice’ – a series of mainly empirical but also theoretical studies. The broad conclusion drawn is that practitioners have continued to join the service for ‘traditional’ reasons associated with approaches based in a belief in ‘help’ and ‘rehabilitation’, rather than ‘offender management’ and punishment. In this way, some elements of practice have had a different emphasis from those of government and represent a degree of resistance to successive governments’ plans for the service in recent decades.


Civil Service Probation Officer Probation Service Probation Work Probation Practice 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Annison, J., Eadie, T., & Knight, C. (2008). People first: Probation officer perspectives on probation work. Probation Journal, 55(3), 259–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bottoms, A., & McWilliams, W. (1979). A non-treatment paradigm for probation practice. British Journal of Social Work, 9, 159–202.Google Scholar
  3. Bourdieu, P. (1977). Outline of a theory of practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bourdieu, P. (1990). The logic of practice. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  5. Burke, L., & Collett, S. (2010). People are not things: What New Labour has done to probation. Probation Journal, 57(3), 232–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Carter, P. (2003). Managing offenders, reducing crime – The correctional services review. London: Home Office Strategy Unit.Google Scholar
  7. Copsey, M. (2011). Offender Engagement Programme: An overview from the programme director. London: NOMS.Google Scholar
  8. Davies, K., & Gregory, M. (2010). The price of targets: Audit and evaluation in probation practice. Probation Journal, 57(4), 400–414.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Deering, J. (2010). Attitudes and beliefs of trainee probation officers – A new breed? Probation Journal, 57(1), 9–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Deering, J. (2011). Probation practice and the new penology: Practitioner reflections. Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  11. Deering, J. (2014). A future for probation? Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 53(1), 1–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Deering, J. (2016). Practice and practitioners in 2020? British Journal of Community Justice, 14(1), 77–81.Google Scholar
  13. Deering, J., & Feilzer, M. Y. (2015). Transforming rehabilitation: Is privatisation the end of the probation ideal? Bristol: Policy Press.Google Scholar
  14. Dowden, C., & Andrews, D. (2004). The importance of staff practice in delivering effective correctional treatment: A meta analysis. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 48, 203–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Farrow, K. (2004). Still committed after all these years? Morale in the modern-day probation service. Probation Journal, 51(3), 206–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Feeley, M., & Simon, J. (1992). The new penology: Notes on the emerging strategy for corrections. Criminology, 30(4), 449–475.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Flynn, N. (2002). Organisation and management: A changing agenda. In D. Ward, J. Scott, & M. Lacey (Eds.), Probation: Working for justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Garland, D. (2001). The culture of control. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Home Office. (1992). National standards for the supervision of offenders in the community. London: Home Office.Google Scholar
  20. Home Office. (1998). Effective practice initiative: Probation circular 35/98. London: Home Office.Google Scholar
  21. Home Office. (2001). A new choreography. An integrated strategy for the National Probation Service for England and Wales. London: Home Office.Google Scholar
  22. Home Office. (2004). Reducing Crime – Changing Lives. London: Home Office.Google Scholar
  23. Humphrey, C., & Pease, K. (1992). Effectiveness measurement in probation – A view from the troops. Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 31(1), 31–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kemshall, H. (1996). Offender risk and probation practice. In H. Kemshall & J. Pritchard (Eds.), Good practice in risk assessment and risk management. London: Jessica Kingsley.Google Scholar
  25. Kemshall, H. (2003). Understanding risk in criminal justice. Maidenhead: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  26. King, S. (2013). Assisted desistance and experiences of probation supervision. Probation Journal, 60(2), 136–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lipsky, M. (1980). Street-level bureaucracy: Dilemmas of the individual in public services. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  28. Lipton, D., Martinson, R., & Wilks, J. (1975). The effectiveness of correctional treatment. New York: Praeger.Google Scholar
  29. Maguire, M., & Raynor, P. (2010). Putting the OM into NOMS: Problems and possibilities for offender management. In J. Brayford, F. Cowe, & J. Deering (Eds.), What else works? Creative work with offenders. Cullompton: Willan.Google Scholar
  30. Matthews, J. (2009). People first: Probation officers’ perspectives on probation work: A practitioner’s response. Probation Journal, 56(1), 61–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. McNeill, F. (2006). A desistance paradigm for offender management. Criminology and Criminal Justice, 6(1), 39–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. McWilliams, W., & Pease, K. (1990). Probation practice and an end to punishment. Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 29(1), 14–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Ministry of Justice. (2011). Competition strategy for offender services. London: Ministry of Justice.Google Scholar
  34. Ministry of Justice. (2012). Punishment and reform: Effective probation services. Consultation paper CP7/2012. London: Ministry of Justice.Google Scholar
  35. Ministry of Justice. (2013). Transforming Rehabilitation, a revolution in the way we manage offenders. London: Ministry of Justice.Google Scholar
  36. Napo. (2013). Justice not for sale: Time for action! In 2013, Napo news (March ed.). London: Napo.Google Scholar
  37. National Probation Service (2015) Train to be a probation officer. Accessed 25 November 2015.
  38. Newburn, T. (2003). Crime and criminal justice policy (2nd ed.). Harlow: Longman.Google Scholar
  39. NOMS. (2005). The NOMS offender management model. London: NOMS.Google Scholar
  40. NOMS. (2010). Offender Engagement programme news 1. London: NOMS.Google Scholar
  41. NOMS. (2011). National Standards for the Management of Offenders. London: NOMS.Google Scholar
  42. NOMS. (2013). Offender Engagement Programme news: Final edition. London: NOMS.Google Scholar
  43. Pratt, J., Brown, D., Brown, M., Hallsworth, S., & Morrison, W. (2005). The new punitiveness: Trends, theories, perspectives. Cullompton: Willan.Google Scholar
  44. Raynor, P., & Maguire, M. (2006). End-to-end or end in tears? Prospects for the effectiveness of the National Offender Management Model. In M. Hough, R. Allen, & U. Padel (Eds.), Reshaping probation and prisons: The new offender management framework. Bristol: Policy Press.Google Scholar
  45. Raynor, P., & Vanstone, M. (2002). Understanding community penalties: Probation, policy and social change. Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  46. Robinson, G., & McNeill, F. (2004). Purposes matter: Examining the ‘ends’ of probation. In G. Mair (Ed.), What matters in probation. Cullompton: Willan.Google Scholar
  47. Rose, N. (2000). Government and control. British Journal of Criminology, 36(4), 321–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Ross, R., & Fabiano, E. (1985). Time to Think: A cognitive model of delinquency prevention and rehabilitation. Ottawa: Institute of Social Sciences and Arts.Google Scholar
  49. Sarantakos, S. (2005). Social research (3rd ed.). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  50. Senior, P., Crowther-Dowey, C., & Long, M. (2007). Understanding modernisation in criminal justice. Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  51. Straw, J. (1997). Commons written reply. Hansard: House of Commons.Google Scholar
  52. Vanstone, M. (2004). Supervising offenders in the community: A history of probation theory and practice. Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  53. Ward, D., & Spencer, J. (1994). The future of probation qualifying training. Probation Journal, 41(2), 95–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Weaver, B., & McNeill, F. (2010). Travelling hopefully: Desistance theory and probation practice. In J. Brayford, F. Cowe, & J. Deering (Eds.), What else works? Creative work with offenders. Cullompton: Willan.Google Scholar
  55. Williams, B. (1995). Probation values. London: Venture Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Humanities and Social SciencesUniversity of South WalesTreforest Campus, PontypriddUK

Personalised recommendations