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The research catalogue is an archive of ESRC-funded grants and outputs. Links, files and other content will no longer be maintained or updated after April 2014.

Probation officers, their occupational cultures and offender management

This research comprises a study of the occupational cultures of probation officers. A great deal has been written about the historical and policy changes that have shaped the role of the probation officer but there has been little research on the changes to occupational cultures and the ways in which probation officers themselves view the impact of changes to their role. Similarly there is little research on the relationships between probation officers and other criminal justice agencies engaged in offender management.

The planned research aims to fill these gaps by exploring three key questions:

  1. What are the characteristics of contemporary probation cultures and how do probation officers construct their occupational identities?
  2. How might such cultures contribute to, or undermine, the effectiveness of offender management?
  3. To what extent is an understanding of probation cultures essential to achieving change within the National Offender Management Service and related criminal justice agencies?

To answer these questions, interviews will be conducted with samples of current and retired probation officers. Through this work, the research aims to make a contribution not only to the study of probation work but also to the body of knowledge on the occupational cultures of criminal justice practitioners.