There is an unusual degree of consensus around the idea that the trend towards using custody more frequently for women should be reversed. Both the current and previous governments in England and Wales have invested in the development of community-based one-stop shop centres for women with this in mind. Interviews with a small sample of judges and magistrates, after the Together Women project had been running in their areas for three years, suggest that the increased provision of community support for women has been welcomed. However, other changes may be needed before one-stop shops are seen as a replacement for prison rather than just as a useful supplement to community orders. These interviews also suggest that sentencers see the probation service as having a key role to play in bringing about such a transformation.
Book review: The Evidence Enigma: Correctional Boot Camps and Other Failures in Evidence-Based Policy Making
This article aims to picture a potential future of probation in Europe based on a very well known principle of probation practice: that future behaviour can be predicted based on past behaviour. Of course, this estimation is based on the assumption that no ‘black swans’ (Taleb, 2001) will show up in the future. The estimation looks in particular to the legislative aspects relevant to probation practice. This article concludes on a rather optimistic note by suggesting that while there seems to be a European trend towards harmonization and penal expansionism there is still room for innovation and local developments.
This article derives from the opening speech I made at Napo's Centenary Conference in July 2012. It considers innovation in relation to probation practice, exploring examples from the past in order to review and analyse issues in the present and to look ahead to the challenges that lie ahead for probation.