Adapting to the End of ‘Treatment’

  • Peter Raynor
  • Gwen Robinson


By late 1970s, the correctional aspirations of the penal system had been seriously undermined, leaving something of a lacuna in penal policy where ideas about rehabilitation used to be. The collapse of the treatment model also created problems of legitimacy for much of the ‘correctional apparatus’, the supposed rehabilitative potential of which had formerly justified its existence. For those parts of the penal system which had grown up on the foundations of rehabilitative optimism, and which had been most closely associated with the delivery of rehabilitative ‘treatment’, the future was far from certain. In 1978 the then head of the Home Office Research Unit expressed his own concerns as follows:

penological research carried out in the course of the last twenty years or so suggests that penal ‘treatments’, as we significantly describe them, do not have any reformative effect whatever other effects they may have. The dilemma is that a considerable investment has been made in various measures and services, of which the most obvious examples are custodial institutions for young adult offenders and probation and after-care services in the community for a wide variety of offenders. Are these resources simply to be abandoned on the basis of the accumulated research evidence? (Croft, 1978, p. 4)


Juvenile Justice Probation Officer Penal System Probation Order Probation Service 
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Copyright information

© Peter Raynor and Gwen Robinson 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Raynor
  • Gwen Robinson

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