Probation: Key Readings, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover


Key Readings, 1st Edition

Edited by George Mair, Judith Rumgay


542 pages

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pub: 2013-10-04
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Probation: Key Readings presents a comprehensive selection of ‘key readings’ in community penalties. It is divided into six sections, each with a detailed introduction from the editors.

Section one showcases central policy perspectives on the role, tasks and significance of the probation service since its inception in 1907, demonstrating the key shifts in political opinion that have taken place. Section two considers the history and development of probation and other community penalties, including accounts of the emergence and origins of such penalties.

Section three looks more theoretically at these developments, illustrating the extent of professional and academic debate about the purpose of probation in a changing criminal justice climate through the models of practice that have been proposed and elaborated at different times in the history of the service.

Section four examines practice, including some of the key programmes that have been developed such as day centres, drug programmes, intensive supervision projects, together with innovative experiments in community engagement. It covers various techniques and approaches to working with offenders, such as casework, groupwork and partnership working.

The fifth section includes various articles on the theme of diversity, a longstanding concern of probation staff. Finally, section six looks at the arguments around effectiveness, including how it is measured and the Nothing Works/What Works debate.

Probation: Key Readings will be essential reading for practitioners, trainees and students of probation.


"At a time when probation in England and Wales faces its deconstruction as a public service, this indispensable collection of readings will serve as a treasure trove of policy, research and practice-based writings on a much-neglected and hugely important part of the criminal justice system. Anyone who wants to understand, to improve or to transform probation should be required to read this book first."

Fergus McNeill, Professor of Criminology & Social Work, University of Glasgow, Scotland.

"This book offers a timely and fascinating overview of policy developments, theoretical debates and practitioners’ views and experiences throughout the rich history of probation in England and Wales. A must-read for all who are interested in the successes and challenges raised by community penalties."

Sonja Snacken, Professor of Criminology, Penology and Sociology of Law at the Department of Criminology, Vrije Universiteit, Brussels.

"George Mair and Judith Rumgay are both eminent researchers and writers on criminal justice, and in this volume they have put together a definitive collection of key texts and sources for the study of probation. Everyone interested in this field will benefit from their fascinating selection, and from their helpful commentaries, which put the selected readings in context. This deserves a place on every criminologist's bookshelf."

Professor Peter Raynor AcSS, Swansea University, UK.

Table of Contents

Part A. Probation: an official history Part B. Probation history: alternative perspectives Part C. Models of Practice Part D. Supervision: practice and programmes Part E. Diversity Part F. Effectiveness.

About the Editors

George Mair is Professor of Criminal Justice, Liverpool Hope University. He has researched and published widely on community penalties. His most recent book is What Matters in Probation (Willan, 2004). He has been a member of the Merseyside Probation Board since its inception in 2001.

Judith Rumgay recently retired from the London School of Economics where she was Reader in Social Policy.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Criminology