Defining effective probation: frontline perspectives

McNeill, F. (2000) Defining effective probation: frontline perspectives. Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 39(4), pp. 382-397. (doi: 10.1111/1468-2311.00177)

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In probation and, in Scotland, in criminal justice social work, the evaluation of effectiveness is fraught with difficulty. Engaging workers in the process of defining effective probation and in developing effectiveness measures is essential if workers are to have any investment in evaluation. The research study reported here attempted to explore workers' definitions of effective probation and found evidence of considerable diversity of opinion on this vital issue. In general though, workers preferred to measure effectiveness in terms of ‘outputs’ or ‘outcomes’– reducing reoffending, changing attitudes, increasing victim empathy and alleviating needs. The study concluded that there are some grounds for cautious optimism about the capacity, opportunity and motivation of criminal justice social workers to rise to the challenge that the effectiveness agenda represents. However, effectiveness evaluation needs to be enacted in a pluralistic manner, recognising the ethical and practical complexity of the issue, as well as the diversity of workers' perspectives.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McNeill, Professor Fergus
Authors: McNeill, F.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:Howard Journal of Criminal Justice
ISSN (Online):1468-2311
Published Online:16 December 2002

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