Probation, credibility and justice

McNeill, F. (2011) Probation, credibility and justice. Probation Journal, 58(1), pp. 9-22. (doi: 10.1177/0264550510388969)




This paper explores the difficulties that arise for probation agencies or those that deliver community sanctions in developing and maintaining their credibility in prevailing ‘late-modern’ social conditions. It begins by questioning the limits of the pursuit and promise of ‘public protection’ as a source of credibility, and then proceeds to examine the emergence of an alternative strategy – based principally on reparation and ‘payback’ – in Scotland, arguing that these Scottish developments have much to say to the emerging debates in England and Wales (and elsewhere) about the ‘rehabilitation revolution’ and the proper use of imprisonment. The paper provides a critical account of the development and meaning of the Scottish version of ‘payback’, linking it to some important philosophical and empirical studies that may help to steer the development of payback away from a ‘merely punitive’ drift. In the conclusion, I argue that probation agencies and services need to engage much more deeply and urgently with their roles as justice services, rather than as ‘mere’ crime reduction agencies.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McNeill, Professor Fergus
Authors: McNeill, F.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Research Group:Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research
Journal Name:Probation Journal
Publisher:Sage Publications
ISSN (Online):1741-3079
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2011 Sage Publications
First Published:First published in Probation Journal 58(1):9-22
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record