1st Edition

Professionalism in Probation Making Sense of Marketisation

By Matt Tidmarsh Copyright 2021
    234 Pages
    by Routledge

    234 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book explores probation staff understandings of professionalism in the aftermath of the Transforming Rehabilitation (TR) reforms to services in England and Wales. Drawing on the sociology of the professions, this book offers an original and timely contribution to the criminal justice literature, examining the ways in which professionalism in probation has been reshaped and renegotiated in response to the market logic that has dominated public services in recent decades.

    The case of the TR reforms offers a useful platform for exploring broader shifts in understandings of professionalism. This book demonstrates the ways in which professionalism in probation can be understood as a discourse through which professionals are expected to be receptive to the demands of multiple stakeholders – offenders, taxpayers, the state, and, additionally, the market. It situates TR in a marketising continuum, the logical endpoint of a period of reform that has sought to discipline staff and reshape their understandings of professionalism.

    Written in a clear and direct style, this book is essential reading for researchers engaged in probation, rehabilitation, criminal justice, and organizational and professional studies.

    1.Probation: A Profession in Transition  2.Probation’s professional project  3.Transforming Rehabilitation: The micro-physics of (market) power  4.‘Well, what are you?’ Professionalism, identity, and culture in probation  5.Probation practice, architecture, and an art of distributions  6.Payment by Results, ‘penal accountancy’, and the regulation of autonomous conduct  7.‘The right kind of person for the job?' Professionalism, probation values, and emotional labour  8.Beyond marketisation? The future of professionalism in probation


    Matt Tidmarsh is a lecturer in Criminal Justice at the School of Law, University of Leeds. He completed his PhD on staff experiences of the Transforming Rehabilitation reforms to probation services in England and Wales, at the School of Law, University of Leeds, in November 2019. His research interests are interdisciplinary, drawing from criminology, sociology, and penology – with a particular focus identity, culture, and practice in probation.

    "Ethnographic studies of probation are still rare and here Matt Tidmarsh brings together observation and interview findings to offer many deep insights into practice. An accomplished theoretical analysis, drawing especially on Foucault, is interwoven with and brought to life by engaging case studies, vivid quotations from probation staff and acute perceptions of interactions with service users. There are well-judged reflections on the architecture and layout of one particular office and the effect these arrangements have on probation practice and its meanings, both to staff and service users. This is an instructive and rewarding account of modern probation practice and is especially timely while plans are again being made for probation’s future."

    Rob Canton, De Montfort University, Leicester

    "This book, based on original ethnographic research of probation in practice, represents an important contribution to literature on what has been a too-often overlooked area of the criminal justice system. The depiction of the challenges of probation practice in the context of significant turmoil following the Transforming Rehabilitation reforms are powerfully conveyed in this study. This is a must-read book for scholars of probation, criminal justice practice and those interested in how professions are shaped by and respond to government policy." 

    Nicola Carr, University of Nottingham and Editor of Probation Journal

    "The book is an indispensable resource for policy makers and senior managers who are now driving Probation Service towards yet another reform. Researchers, students and practitioners will also get an important insight into the interplay between change and resisting change. To conclude, I would say that the book is a must-have resource for those who want to better understand the probation world at the beginning of the 21st Century."

    Ioan Durnescu, University of Bucharest and Co-Editor of European Journal of Probation