Rehabilitating and Resettling Offenders in theCommunity
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Rehabilitating and Resettling Offenders in the Community is a significant examination of the historical development of work with offenders and their treatment by the state and society. It offers unique perspectives and a wealth of information drawn from numerous interviews with probation staff.
  • Highlights how the work of probation staff has changed over time and the reasons behind these changes
  • Includes discourse with probation staff carried out over many years for a comprehensive, ‘insiders’ view of the situation
  • Focuses on contemporary issues, including the changes brought in by the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition
  • Written by a leading academic with extensive experience in the probation service


Anthony Goodman is Professor of Criminal and Community Justice Studies at Middlesex University. He previously worked as a probation officer in a number of settings, including a women’s prison and a resettlement unit for the homeless, which supported many high risk offenders. Professor Goodman has conducted research for the probation service as well as in the fields of hate crime, substance misuse and most recently, young people, ethnicity and identity. He is the author of Social Work with Drug and Substance Misusers (2007, 2009).


About the Author xi

Acknowledgements xii

1 Introduction: How Should We Treat Offenders and What Can We Learn from the Past? 1

Personal Experience 3

From Professional to Technical Skills 7

Fast-Track Punishment 8

What Works? 9

The Future of Professional Practice 10

Structure and Contents 11

2 The Early History of Punishing Offenders: Punishments and Help Offered to Those Incarcerated 15

The Role of Religion and Offenders 16

Techniques for Gaining Control of the Population 17

The Threat of the Destitute 19

The Growth of the Prison System 20

The Export of Offenders 20

Positive Custody? 22

Circumventing the Gallows 22

Ensuring Punishment 25

Dealing with the Children: Reformatories 27

Dealing with Adults: Prison and Punishment 28

Summary 31

3 The Probation Service from its Inception until 1984: From Rescuing the Fallen to a Centrally Managed Organization 33

From a Primitive to an Industrial Society 33

Making Offenders Productive 34

Issues of Power: From Control of the Body to Control of the Mind 35

The Early History of the Probation Service 37

From the Mission to Social Work with Offenders 41

The Middle Period of Probation 43

The Incompatibility of Breaching Orders with Traditional Notions of Casework 44

From the Pessimism of ‘Nothing Works’ to ‘What Works?’ 46

The Professional Identity of Probation Officers 47

The Home Office and Probation: Turning the Screw 49

‘Just Deserts’ and the Increase in Compulsory Supervision 51

Summary 53

4 The Probation Service after 1984: From Social Work to Social Control and Punishment 54

The Probation Task and ‘Taylorism’ 54

Punishment in the Community 55

Control Over Probation: The Role of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation and Themed Inspections 58

A New Report: Probation Services Working in Partnership: Increasing Value for Money 59

The Work of Prison Probation Departments Report 59

Exercising Constant Vigilance: The Role of the Probation Service in Protecting the Public from Sex Offenders, Report (1998) 60

Towards Race Equality (2000) 61

The Growth of Managerialism 62

From Casework to Corrections 63

Changes to the Influence of Probation in the Court Setting 65

Probation and New Labour 68

Just Deserts 70

Probation and the Punitive Tendency 71

Social Exclusion 72

Summary 83

5 Deconstructing National Standards for the Supervision of Offenders in the Community 84

Background to the Analysis 85

Context 87

The typographical layout of NS 1992 and NS 1995 88

The discursive levels of NS 1992 and NS 1995 88

Textual Cohesion in NS 1992 and NS 1995 93

Surface grammatical structure of NS 1992 and NS 1995 94

The narrative level of NS 1992 and NS 1995 96

The semiotic square of NS 1992 and NS 1995 97

Commentary 99

National Standards 2002 (A Revised Version of NS 2000) 101

Discursive level 101

Lexical fields in NS 2002 (Home Office, 2002) 102

The semiotic square of NS 2002 102

National Standards 2005 103

National Standards 2007 103

Lexical fields in NS 2007 105

The semiotic square of NS 2007 106

Discrimination and the semiotic square 107

Summary 108

6 Views of Front-Line Staff 111

Setting the Context: The Opinion of Probation Service Professionals 111

What Happens During a Period of Change? The Early 1990s 111

On the Cusp of Change: Life Before and After National Standards 1995 114

Changes in the bureaucratic tasks of the Probation Service 114

Processing offenders 115

Taking offenders back to court (breaching) 117

Coping with the changes 118

Recording contact with offenders 119

Contact with prisoners 122

Understanding the World of the Offender 123

Discrimination and Offenders 125

Discrimination and Staff 126

‘Advise, Assist and Befriend’ 127

Changes in the Skills Base of Probation Officers 128

Probation Officers: Case Managers, not Case Workers? 130

Engaging with a Different Type of Offender 132

The Organizational Response 134

Morale and Issues of Control 137

Where did this Leave the Probation Service? 138

Bureaucratic tasks 138

Control, therapeutic work and the value base 138

Changes in probation practice, and its skills base 140

Responses to the Changing Offender Profile and ‘Effective Practice’ Initiatives 140

Why Staff Believed the Changes were Taking Place 141

Transitions and Change in Probation Practice 142

7 After-Care and Resettlement in the Inner London Probation Service (1965–1990) 147

The Professionalization of the ACU 151

Records 151

Finances 151

Clothing – WRVS 152

Community Service Volunteers (CSVs) 152

The Beginning: the Operation of the ACU 152

Analysis of casual callers in 1966 153

The Early Years of the ACU 153

A Hostel Run by a Probation Officer 155

The Maintenance of the Voluntary Tradition in Probation 158

An Evaluation of the ACU by the Home Office Research Unit 161

The ACU from the 1970s Until its Closure 165

The ACU at the Time of the Home Office’s SNOP Document 166

Work with casual callers 167

1986: the ACU After the Division into Specialisms 169

Changes to the work with casual callers 170

The Pressure on Staff to Move from Resettlement to Mainstream Work 171

The Senior Management View of the ACU 173

1987: The Year of Consolidation 175

Summary 177

8 Through-Care and After-Care of Offenders by the National Offender Management Service 179

Background 179

The Probation Service Takes Over Prison Welfare and Working with Prisoners 179

The Professionalization of Welfare Work with Prisoners and Ex-prisoners 182

Changes Since Probation Became Part of NOMS 186

National Standards (NS): PPU and OM Teams 188

Summary 193

9 Issues Around Rehabilitation 195

Using History as an Indicator of Future Social Problems 195

What does it Mean to be a Professional? 196

Life in the Community 197

Operating in the Criminal Justice System 199

Toughening up the System and Alternative Approaches 202

Supervision, NOMS and (in)Flexibility? 204

Risk and its Assessment 205

The Government, Probation and the Future 206

References 208

Further Reading 222

Index 227


“Professor Goodman cares about the probation service but, more particularly, he cares about the way that our society responds to those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged, troublesome and in trouble. This concern, and his desire to see professional and compassionate rehabilitation and resettlement services, are clearly conveyed in his book." (The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 6 January 2014)

"Given the unique combination of political and practice analysis, along with personal and practitioner experience, this book offers a valuable contribution to the understanding of probation in the rehabilitation and resettlement of offenders in the community. Practitioners are provided with the tools and prompts with which to reflect on their work, and academics are provided with the collective wisdom of practitioners in understanding the daily experiences and challenges of rehabilitative practice." Probation Journal, June 2013