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Room for Improvement: A History of the Probation Service's Response to Race (From Race and Probation, P 3-24, 2006, Sam Lewis, Peter Raynor, et al., eds. -- See NCJ-213631)

NCJ Number
Maurice Vanstone
Date Published
22 pages
This chapter traces the history of the British Probation Service's response to the needs of minority ethnic probationers.
Probation casework is marked by inconsistency in the management of ethnic-minority probationers, which has persisted due largely to a broad-based focus on evidence-based practice by both the British National Government and the Probation Service. In explaining why and how probation policy and practice developed as they have, the chapter acknowledges that the meaning of the terms "race," "ethnicity," and "Black" have been debated in a number of political and organizational forums, resulting in an inconsistent use of these terms in policy and practice. Reflecting this circumstance, the historical summary of probation's efforts to counter racial discrimination in its work takes into account national politics and the failure to understand the cultural influences on various ethnic groups. More enlightened policies toward ethnic-minority probationers has resulted from the influence of the increasing proportion of minority probation staff. Consequently, the most helpful self-criticism of the Probation Service's policies and practice toward ethnic-minority probationers has occurred in the last quarter of the 20th century. Prior to this, probation work was dominated by White perspectives. This focus does not in itself undermine serving the distinctive needs of minority probationers, but may divert attention from evaluations that specifically measure the effectiveness of various probation practices with ethnic minorities. 8 notes and 97 references