This book provides a comprehensive and accessible introduction to the work of the probation service. It brings together themes of policy, theory and practice to help students and practitioners to better understand the work of probation, its limitations as well as potential, but above all its value. Setting probation in the context of the criminal justice system, the book explores its history, purposes and contemporary significance. It explains what probation is, discusses emerging ideas around offender management, and the value of an approach that centres on the idea of desistance. It considers the practice realities of working with offenders in the community. The book also covers the governance of probation and how policy and practice are responding to contemporary concerns about crime and community safety - for example through the management of risk. Although the main focus is on England and Wales, there is some discussion of other UK jurisdictions and of contemporary trends in European probation practices. This book will encourage readers to appreciate the practical and theoretical strengths and shortcomings of contemporary probation practice. Information and discussion are presented clearly, with guidance about further study and pointers towards more specialized readings. Probation: Working with Offenders will be essential reading for trainee probation officers and students of probation and offender management.
Rob Canton is Professor and Head of Research in Community and Criminal Justice, De Montfort University, Leicester. As a former probation officer, he has done a great deal of international work, especially on behalf of the Council of Europe, and helped to draft the European Probation Rules.