Probation, the state and community — delivering probation services in Northern Ireland

Authored by: David O’Mahony , Tim Chapman

Handbook of Probation

Print publication date:  May  2007
Online publication date:  May  2013

Print ISBN: 9781843921905
eBook ISBN: 9781843926184
Adobe ISBN: 9781134014910


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In this chapter we look at how probation services have evolved and developed in Northern Ireland. This is a history of a service structurally independent from, yet influenced by, policy and practice developments in probation services in England and Wales. It is also about probation officers and managers struggling to perform a professional role in a society in which criminal justice has provoked highly contentious political issues often resulting in violence. Thus, while probation practice in Northern Ireland has many similarities to England and Wales, it also has significant and interesting differences. Its unique historical development, the civil conflict and the peace process in Northern Ireland have all forced probation to examine its relationship to the state, to offenders and to communities. The practice that emerged from this critical examination may have lessons for other probation services.

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