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Keywords:

  • probation;
  • future;
  • practice;
  • competition

Abstract

The probation service in England and Wales faces what is the greatest challenge in its history. It is currently facing a future which is being shaped by four competing and differing forces: its current case management approach as influenced by moves to more law-enforcement practices; theories of desistance; new developments in offender engagement; and the emergence of Payment by Results (PbR). The article considers each of these influences and discusses how important they may be to the future of probation practice, concluding that the future of the service may be unrecognisable from anything that has gone before.