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Moving Away from Social Work and Half Way Back Again: New Research on Skills in Probation


Research on social work in the criminal justice system was well represented in the social
work literature until the 1990s. Since then, changes in the organisation, training and research base of probation practice, particularly in England and Wales, have all contributed
to a separation between probation research and the mainstream social work research literature. However, recent probation research, by focusing on individual practice skills and
on the quality of relationships,is producing findingswhich resonate with traditional social
work concerns. The study presented here, based on analysis of videotaped interviews
between probation staff and the people they are supervising, shows what skills are used
and the effects of skilled supervision. People supervised by more skilled staff were significantly less likely to be reconvicted over a two-year follow-up, and the most effective supervisors combined good relationship skillswith a range of‘structuring’ or change-promoting
skills. In effect, this can be regarded as a test of the impact of social work skills used by probation staff and suggests that a closer relationship between mainstream social work research and probation research could be productive for both.

Categories Law, Social science
Keywords After Care Service, Community Sentences, Needs, Probation, Rehabilitation
Author Maurice Vanstone, Peter Raynor
Date published 2016
Document type Report
Organisation Jersey Probation and After-Care Service
IRR Code IRR/JPACS/2016.43842
File Type pdf