Probation Intervention, the Need to Reflect Life's Complexities

Malcolm Millar, University of Liverpool
Lol Burke, University of Liverpool

This paper has three main parts. First, it will provide a brief description of some of the main changes in the policy and practice of the National Probation Service in England and Wales during the past decade Second, a critical analysis of these changes will be offered, and this will feature, in particular, an appraisal of the way in which the language of 'effective practice' has been used at the levels of policy and practice to bring about radical changes in how Probation Officers work with offenders. Thirdly, and this will be the main contribution of this paper, the authors will introduce and highlight the significance of the concept of complexity noting how its use should be essential to our understanding of the lives of offenders who are subject to Probation intervention. We will use the analysis emerging from this to sketch out basic principles for a new approach to practice in this field.

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Updated 05/20/2006