The criminal justice system has been in a state of flux in recent decades, accompanied by growing levels of insecurity and intolerance of crime and offenders among the general population. Along with government policy and practice, these developments are seen as contributing to an increasingly punitive system that imprisons more than ever before and seeks to punish and manage offenders in the community, rather than to attempt their rehabilitation. For these reasons, along with a loss of faith in rehabilitation, the probation service is now described by many as having become a law enforcement agency, charged by government with the assessment and management of risk, the protection of the public and the management and punishment of offenders, rather than their transformation into pro-social citizens. This book explores the extent to which practitioners within the National Probation Service for England and Wales and the National Offender Management Service ascribe to the values, attitudes and beliefs associated with these macro and mezzo level changes and how much their practice has changed accordingly. By viewing examples of 'real' practice through the lens of the modernisation of public services, managerialism and theories of organisation change, the book considers how 'real' practice is likely to emerge as something unpredictable and perhaps different from the intentions of both government/management and practitioners.
Dr John Deering is Senior Lecturer at the University of Wales, Newport.
'This important book gives a voice to those who implement the theories and practices of probation work, and in so doing provides a glimmer of hope for those who have conceded the defeat of humanitarian values to right and left wing punitivists. Not only does it challenge current political assumptions about how organisations and the people who work within them can be bent to political will, but it confirms continuing belief amongst practitioners - who have accepted the importance of risk, accountability and evidence - in the humanistic aspect of their work and its dependence on relationships rooted in empathy and genuine concern for individuals.' Maurice Vanstone, Swansea University, UK 'This book is recommended reading for practitioners, academics and trainees and will also be extremely valuable for policy makers as they determine the future direction of probation and seek to develop the service in a way that is inclusive of staff.' EuroVista 'This is a valuable contribution to both the literature on probation practice and culture, and the broader body of work which has sought to address gaps between theoretical accounts of penal transformation (and official rhetoric) and accounts of ’actual’ practice on the ground.' Howard Journal of Criminal Justice 'Overall, in this excellent text John Deering largely achieves his aim of providing a more nuanced understanding of the impact of the changes upon probation practice than can be drawn from official accounts... it is hard to disagree with Maurice Vanstone’s eulogy on the cover of this text that: ’This important book gives a voice to those who implement the theories and practices of probation work, and in doing provides a glimmer of hope for those who have conceded the defeat of humanitarian values to right and left wing punitivists.’ Probation Journal