The Role of the British Prison-Based Probation Officer


Unlike probation officers in the United States, British probation officers serve a portion of their time working in a prison providing probation service to prisoners. This policy, referred to as "throughcare," is intended to provide prisoners with probation services prior to, during, and following their incarceration. While the work of community-based probation and parole officers is well documented in the literature of British corrections, the role of the prison-based probation officer is less well researched. This paper reviews the kinds of services provided by prison-based probation officers in England and some of the unique problems they face providing these services in the prison setting. The author, having spent several months each year over a period of five years (from 1983 to 1987) observing in Her Majesty's prisons, draws upon interview data, official documents, and personal observations to provide the reader with a description and critique of the role of the British prison probation officer. The paper concludes with a review of some of the obstacles prison-based probation officers face in attempting to fulfill their role.


Criminology and Criminal Justice

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International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice