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Skills and Training in British Probation: A Tale of Neglect and Possible Revival

NCJ Number
Federal Probation Volume: 77 Issue: 2 Dated: September 2013 Pages: 49-53
Peter Raynor; Pamela Ugwudike
Date Published
September 2013
5 pages

After reviewing the history of skills and training in British probation, culminating in the development of "core correctional practices" (CCPs), this article reports on the findings and implications of the Jersey Supervision Skills study, which tested the effectiveness of using the CCPs on the island of Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands in the United Kingdom (UK).


In the UK, the process of one-to-one supervision of offenders by probation staff was not viewed as contributing to effective rehabilitation until very high attrition rates on programs began to redirect attention to the individual supervision process. Some British probation researchers began to use the concept of "core correctional practices." Two researchers outlined the CCPs as consisting of effective use of authority; anti-criminal modeling and reinforcement; problem solving; the use of community resources; and the quality of interpersonal relationships between staff and client. In testing the effectiveness of the CCPs on Jersey, officers in the Jersey Probation and Aftercare Service (JPACS) were observed and scored from videotaped supervision sessions, using a Checklist developed by the researchers. Thus far, the most practical effect of the research has been the dissemination of the Checklist used in measuring the degree to which Jersey probation officers were using the CCPs in their supervisory sessions with clients. The Checklist is composed of nine groups of skills: set up, nonverbal communication, verbal communication, use of authority, motivational interviewing, prosocial modeling, problem solving, cognitive restructuring, and overall interview structure. The latest information from Jersey is that the Checklist is being used there in staff development. 4 tables and 20 references