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Some Personal Reflections on Probation Training

Treadwell, James, "Some Personal Reflections on Probation Training" . Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, Vol. 45, No. 1, pp. 1-13, February 2006 Available at SSRN:


    This research draws upon the author's personal experiences and the comments of his former colleagues on their perception of undertaking the Diploma in Probation Studies (DipPS) in the Midlands Region. This relatively recently established qualification, undertaken in order to be eligible to work as a probation officer in England and Wales, has created substantial discourse due to its break with social work traditions. This research was undertaken over a two-year period and intends to provide 'consumer' comment on the training and examines the perceptions of trainee probation officers (TPOs) on the suitability of these training arrangements. The author argues that whilst the intention of the programme was not to create an unquestioning 'enforcement' driven mentality, a number of trainees adopted just that. The article suggests that this is due to the tension created by a perceived disparity between the needs of the organisation and the demands of the university amongst the trainee group. This is reinforced by the imbalance in delivery, between the vocational and academic components. The author's view is that the current arrangements are too vocational in practice, and this is likely to continue, given the move towards delivery of the academic component through 'distance learning'. It argues that the future pre-qualifying arrangements need to retain a belief in the value of academia and be delivered (at least in part) outside the employment setting.
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