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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 161182 Find in a Library
Title: Values in Context: Quality Assurance, Autonomy and Accountability (From Working With Offenders: Issues, Contexts and Outcomes, P 76-95, 1996, Tim May and Antony A. Vass, eds. - See NCJ-161178)
Author(s): E Finkelstein
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 20
Sponsoring Agency: Sage Publications Ltd
London, EC2A 4PU, England
Sale Source: Sage Publications Ltd
6 Bonhill Street
London, EC2A 4PU,
United Kingdom
Type: Survey
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: To examine issues relevant to autonomy and accountability in the probation service in England, personnel of a medium-sized probation area were surveyed by mail and interviewed regarding their views.
Abstract: The initial mail survey took place in May 1993, some 7 months after the implementation of the Criminal Justice Act 1991 and the associated national standards. Participants were contacted for interviews about 8 months later. Forty- four members of the staff completed questionnaires. Results revealed that probation officers were aware of the political role of Home Office officials and ministers in constructing an agenda for the probation service. Many probation officers are also aware that issues raised in the media shape political opinion, which may influence the work of the probation service. Probation officers recognized the hierarchical nature of the agency. Most, except for those in specialist positions, most participants regarded themselves as members of a team. The majority agreed that national standards were necessary to the work of the probation service, particularly in promoting more focused work and structure. Some expressed concerns that national standards had the potential for supervisors to be too prescriptive, but this did not appear to have happened. Although accountability runs contrary to autonomy and may create a feeling of loss of choice, if used appropriately, it may create and promote the value of a better practice and thus quality assurance. Notes and 32 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Corrections in foreign countries; England; Foreign probation or parole services; Probation; Probation officer attitudes; Wales
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