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Compulsory Persuasion - A Problem for Correctional Social Work

NCJ Number
British Journal of Social Work Volume: 8 Issue: 4 Dated: (1978) Pages: 411-424
P Raynor
Date Published
14 pages
Recent trends in the probation and aftercare service in Great Britain are considered, and a humanistic perspective on social work with offenders is outlined in view of research done on the effectiveness of social work in reducing offending behavior.
Probation and aftercare services have recently been affected by a number of trends: an emphasis on community corrections rather than imprisonment; the public demand for reduced recidivism, particularly among offenders being supervised in the community; research results showing the general ineffectiveness of community rehabilitation programs in reducing recidivism; and the orientation of social workers toward providing helping services to clients. These influences have yet to be handled to formulate a consensus policy for probation and aftercare services. Research shows that compulsory supervision as a means of controlling behavior is ineffective. However, studies which have explored the personality characteristics and behavior of offenders who have achieved positive change show that offenders expressing a need for change in their lives and who have a strong inner drive to set and achieve personal behavioral goals have benefited from helping services. The divergence in probation and aftercare outcomes according to offender attitudes and circumstances argues for a multifaceted approach in the provision of such services. While some offenders may receive only services designed to provide maintenance, supervision, and the prevention of deterioration, others may profitably enter into contracts where they set a variety of improvement goals for themselves. Whatever kinds of services are provided, however, the offender should play a major role in the determination of the services provided. Thirty-five reverences and one table are provided.


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