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Defining Effective Probation: Frontline Perspectives

NCJ Number
Howard Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 39 Issue: 4 Dated: November 2000 Pages: 382-397
Fergus McNeill
Tony Fowles, David Wilson
Date Published
November 2000
This article looks at measuring the effectiveness of probation in Scotland, by engaging workers in the process of defining effective probation and in developing effectiveness measures essential to their investment in the evaluation.
This article attempts to explore workers’ definitions of effective probation and finds considerable differences of opinion on the issue. In general, workers preferred to measure effectiveness in terms of outputs or outcomes, reducing reoffending, changing attitudes, increasing victim empathy, and alleviating needs. The study concludes that there are some grounds for optimism about the capacity, opportunity and motivation of criminal justice social workers to rise to the challenge of the effectiveness agenda. For managers and policy makers there is an evident need for workers to be willingly engaged and committed to the measurement of effectiveness, however defined. Notes and references