Book Review: Risk and Rehabilitation: Management and Treatment of Substance Misuse and Mental Health Problems in the Criminal Justice System
Restorative justice is a comparative newcomer to the world of the probation service; however, there are new imperatives and drivers such as the recent paper ‘Punishment and Reform: Effective Community Sentences’ (2012) which signal a changing mood and a willingness to investigate the possibilities of restorative justice. It also makes reference to resources made available. In other parts of the criminal justice system, particularly within the youth justice service, restorative justice has been around, ‘officially’ – by means of legislation – for 14 years, and unofficially (in innovative practice), for longer. The knowledge and skills associated with restorative justice have slowly but surely migrated to other services, such as education, with startling results. Significantly, numerous police forces have begun to adopt the use of restorative justice. The plenary session at the National Conference explored some personal insights and took some time to examine important underlying concepts and thinkers who have influenced restorative work. The session posed the question of whether we are on the cusp of significant change in our outlook toward the purpose of justice. This article will reflect that as well as exploring later some of the broader implications for the probation service in the immediate future.
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.