Learning from success and failure: Deconstructing the working relationship within probation practice and exploring its impact on probationers, using a collaborative approach
Whilst a positive working relationship has been recognized as a ‘powerful vehicle’ for offender change (NOMS, 2010), little is known in respect to how powerful a positive working relationship can be for probationers and the impact it may have upon their lives. From considering the ‘experience’ of a working relationship, this study evaluated ‘what worked’ for probationers by drawing from the successes and failures within a relational context. The study also explored the impact of these relationships upon the probationers, both at the time of the relationship and once it had ceased. Seven probationers were involved in this collaborative study, assisting in the design and analysis of the study, as ‘experts’ in probation relationships. The results tentatively suggested that certain characteristics (acceptance, respect, support, empathy and belief) enable a positive relational climate to exist that has a powerful impact upon the probationer, their beliefs and their behaviour. Conversely, if the probation supervisor (PS) fails to demonstrate these characteristics, a ‘toxic’ environment for change is more probable and could lead to greater risk of offending.
Probation practice with personality disordered offenders: The importance of avoiding errors of logic
This article aims to articulate how criminal justice staff may inadvertently make errors of logic when working with offenders with personality disorder. The aim of this article is also to consider ways of working that might help criminal justice staff to meaningfully engage and motivate clients with personality disorder, properly identify strengths and avoid making these fundamental errors of logic. A way of working is, therefore, outlined which attempts to facilitate consideration of the offender’s inner world, their logic and their experience. As such, this article promotes a psychologically informed approach to criminal justice practice.
Emotional literacy as a skill in probation practice requires an ability to understand and regulate one’s own emotions, in order to be responsive to the emotions of others. The concepts and methods used in this article arise from research by Charlotte Knight for a PhD on emotional literacy in work with high-risk offenders and the practice of Panna Modi, who works as a probation officer in a sex offender treatment unit with low, medium and high risk offenders. Reference is made to the case studies of two men who were participants in a Community Sex Offender Groupwork Programme (C-SOGP) and examines some of the emotional processes and skills involved in work with them.