Category: Probation

Reoffending: A practitioner’s guide to working with offenders and offending behaviour in the Criminal Justice System [Probation]

How to get a job as a Probation Officer

So you want to be a Probation Officer or, more accurately, a Probation Service Officer (PSO) - which is the first rung on the ladder. Okay, what do you do next? You will be looking to join the United Kingdom's National Probation Service, an organization that currently employs more than 20,000 staff, and which is now the primary route to becoming a PSO (through employment and subsequent in-house training and learning). It is worth pointing out, however, that before you apply for any probation service posts and specifically if you have no experience, it is extremely worthwhile to try to get a feel for what to expect before you apply. If you do not - you may get a big shock when you start! To get a feel for what the Probation Service offers and, hopefully, some first-hand experience, you could try contacting Senior Probation Officers (SPOs) at your local probation office. If this is unsuccessful, try contacting local alcohol and drug agencies to speak with and even shadow professionals. Having these kinds of experiences on your CV will also help your application. Should you prove successful in your application to be a PSO, you will join the Probation Service, and you will be expected (all new staff anyway) to complete what is known as a Vocational Qualification Diploma in Probation Practice- Level 3 within 12 months. This leads to you being a fully qualified PSO. AS the name suggests, the VQD is all about 'real world' probation work…

Reoffending: A practitioner’s guide to working with offenders and offending behaviour in the Criminal Justice System [Probation]

How to write a Pre Sentence Report (PSR) – Offence Analysis

One of the finest and most identifiably unique skills a Probation Officer can develop is being able to write a good Pre Sentence Report (PSR). A PSR is a report that is requested by Magistrates or Judges to help inform the sentencing of offenders. Whilst it is not the remit of this article to discuss how to write a complete PSR, the aim is to help increase the understanding of how to construct an informative offence analysis. An offence analysis is a critical element of the report. It provides insight into the offender’s thinking and, if a Probation Officer can relate to it correctly, it can then propose the right intervention and (in theory) facilitate a reduction in reoffending. In my experience, many practitioners over time can overlook the importance of offence analysis and concentrate on constructing other areas of the report. For me, however, this section will help establish what a practitioner can achieve with an offender with regards to intervention. It will also give a good indication as to the risk an offender poses - which is what, after-all, the Probation Service attempts to manage. A well-constructed offence analysis comprises of some essential elements. So here, I will share with you a sequential formula (which I follow myself) to help make sure the evaluation stays an analysis and does not become a description. The difference between a description and analysis can often become blurred within reports. For example, I have seen some reports which only describe or regurgitate…