THE PRESENT time is one of declining use of the probation order in favour of other penalties. It is a time of pressure to find alternatives to imprisonment for the petty recidivist offender who finds himself ultimately being sentenced to successive terms of imprisonment. It is a time of acclamation for the community service order and of proliferation of social inquiry reports and growing domestic work. But it is also a time of doubt about the competence of the Probation and After-Care Service and the efficacy of probation methods.The belief that social work with offenders would itself make an impact on reconviction rates (the &dquo;treatment model&dquo;) has been shown by a whole series of research studies' to be only very marginally valid, if at all. This has enormous implications both for the future development of the Service and the way in which current resources are managed. The traditional social work dimension of the agency is likely to be increasingly identified as just one part (albeit an important part) of what should be available to community, courts and offenders. This process is already under way and is evidenced by the use of ancillaries and the development of community service. Thus the concept of differential treatment, once used to describe a range of social work skills, is now taking on a much broader meaning since it is gradually encompassing provision based on concepts such as justice, reparation and punishment, where social work in the traditional sense may have a limited place.The purpose of this article is to examine the nature and function of a redefined probation order which, we believe, might have an important part to play in a broadly based Probation and After-Care Service devoted to the provision of publicly credible non-custodial alternatives to imprisonment. The present positionThe current political and economic climate should not be ignored when considering the trends referred to earlier and some might think our ideas are linked too much to a state of affairs which will prove temporary and of little significance. Nevertheless we consider that the declining use of the probation order by the courts reflects a declining credibility about the philosophy of the Service and the way it operates. Probation officers, trained as social workers, often appear confused about such fundamental questions as &dquo;who is the client?&dquo;. Is it the court, the offender, the agency, or a subjectively defined mixture of the three? . Furthermore they experience considerable frustration over the amount of their time spent in routine administration related to the oversight of offenders as distinct from pure social work activity. The nature of their relationship with offenders and courts, coupled with the one-to-one methods of work which still predominate, can so easily lead to the offender's responsibility for his own behaviour being transferred to the probation officer to the point where the officer feels culpable when further offences are committed. Thus once again the implication would seem to be of a ...
DOLICE court missionaries, in old times, tried to resolve the 1 problem of minor delinquencies by an evangelistic manipulation of the client and his environment, by making use of a friendly relationship founded on religious dedication on the one part and necessity on the other. They had proved their point, but as probation became accepted, training for probation officers slowly moved away from its earlier traditions to integrate Freudian concepts and techniques. Casework both as a method and a theory replaced the earlier personal approach, and subjectivity gave way to objectivity in relationships. More recently, however, secure in the accepted framework of casework, probation officers began empirically to experiment with other ways of working. Though it still remains the cornerstone of probation work, as the limitations of the one to one relationship as a panacea for the complex range of persons now included in the average caseload became increasingly apparent, new ways are being tried. Indeed, the English Probation Service is in a state of professional fermentation, development or metamorphosis, depending on one's viewpoint. Of particular impact are the influence of welfare work in prisons and after-care, the great stress on the environmental causes of crime, the concepts and practices of role playing and group dynamics. With this latter factor in mind the Hampshire Probation Service has been developing activity groups with primarily adolescent offenders. The 'one to one' discussion aimed at giving insight and strengthening the ego seems not altogether appropriate for a group of young offenders who, while verbally inarticulate, express themselves most articulately through their behaviour.In 1963, therefore, we decided to experiment with a camp for boys on probation. The early probationers' camps were meant to provide a relevant experience for the boys and staff alike. Relevant, that is, to their needs and to our knowledge of delinquency and its treatment. We were specially interested to apply group dynamics to the situation, and were inspired by the work of people like Aichhorn, Wills and Lyward. We hoped that in a situation made secure by the staff and given a large degree of freedom of action, the children would behave sociably, asserting their own restraints and discover the need for social organisation, and law and order. This would be facilitated if we could provide a 'one-community' without the customary division into 'us' and 'them' where authority would be nurturing and enabling, and whatever at UNIV OF MASSACHUSETTS on April 5, 2015 ijo.sagepub.com Downloaded from
In early 1994, Virginia Senator Chuck Robb appeared extremely vulnerable. Once touted as a potential Democratic presidential candidate, Robb spent much of his first term defending himself against charges that he had attended parties where drugs were used, had engaged in extramarital affairs, and had known that his aides had possessed illegally taped cellular telephone conversations of long-time rival Governor Douglas Wilder.Robb's difficulties began soon before he launched his campaign in March 1994. He issued a letter to Virginia Democratic leaders and activists in which he admitted to having extramarital sex, although he consistently denied that this contact had ever included inter-course. This fine distinction made him no friends among moral conservatives, who disapproved of any extramarital activity, or among liberals, who found his behavior sexist and his account implausible.Yet on election night, Robb survived a Republican tidal wave to win a surprisingly easy victory over Republican candidate Oliver North, of Iran-Contra notoriety. North spent approximately $20 million, more than four times Robb's total, and deployed a huge volunteer army that covered the state with placards. He had the strong endorsements of Reverends Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, and could count on the organizational efforts of the Christian Coalition, the Family Foundation, and the National Rifle Association. In the home state of the former Moral Majority and the Christian Coalition, however, North failed to carry Lynchburg (a stronghold of Falwell and the former Moral Majority), or Chesapeake, and only narrowly carried Virginia Beach (home of both Robertson and the Christian Coalition).
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