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NCJ Number: 221832 Find in a Library
Title: Community Penalties and Home Office Research: On the Way Back to 'Nothing Works'?
Journal: Criminology and Criminal Justice  Volume:8  Issue:1  Dated:February 2008  Pages:73-87
Author(s): Peter Raynor
Date Published: February 2008
Page Count: 15
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses recent research on community penalties in the United Kingdom, and in particular the contribution of the Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Division.
Abstract: The history of research on community penalties in Britain falls into several distinct stages corresponding to shifts in official and sometimes professional perceptions of the role, purpose, and nature of community penalties. Since 1907 community penalties had been understood as probation orders. From 1970 onward, a range of derivatives came under the 2003 Criminal Justice Act 13 with 13 different ways of supervising an adult offender in the community. In the mid-1970s, research on community penalties changed with concern on finding out whether they had an impact on the criminal justice system by diverting offenders. In 1999, the investment in ‘what works’ dramatically increased through funding from the Home Office, Crime Reduction Program (CRP). During the second half of 2003, the National Offender Management Service staff worked on a new strategy to standardize approaches to evaluation. There was a shift to more managerial language (standards for impact studies) and methodological shifts. This approach to measuring the quality of evaluation research has been heavily criticized. Current statements of methodological preference are discussed in the light of the history of evaluative research, and it is suggested that a perceived need for information management may be leading to an unhelpful narrowing of methodological choices. This approach risks neglecting features of community sentences which require investigation, and at worst can encourage a drift back towards a belief that ‘nothing works’. References
Main Term(s): Community-based corrections (adult); Sentencing/Sanctions
Index Term(s): Corrections effectiveness; Evaluation measures; Evaluation techniques; Evaluative research; Probation; United Kingdom (UK)
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