The Probation Services has seen as unprecedented period of change recently particularly with the formation of the National Probation Service in 2001, the introduction of new sentences with the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and then, from 2004, the creation of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) (Carter, 2003). According to Farrow (2004) many experienced probation officers – despite maintaining commitment to the service – are now very demoralized and alienated. Along with complaints over workloads, targets and paperwork, those interviewed by Farrow were critical of ‘the stress caused by constant change and re-invention’ (p218). Davies (2004) writing in the Guardian put it thus: ‘Morale is low. The service has just gone through an exhausting restructuring, only to find that it is now to be restructured yet again’. In the midst of this change the authors of this article have been involved in a study of sentencing and its impact on the prison population (Hough et al., 2003; Millie et al., 2003). For this the views of judges and magistrates were canvassed on a range of issues relating to their sentencing decisions, including confidence in community-based sentences and in the probation service.
|Journal||Vista: Perspectives on Probation, Criminal Justice and Civil Renewal|
|Publication status||Published - 2004|