The Probation Service has a legislative responsibility to help the courts to determine the most suitable way of dealing with a particular offender. In particular, through pre-sentence reports, the probation role is to outline the potential impact of the various sentencing options on an individual offender, in terms of punishment and rehabilitation.
Probation has a good track record of enforcing robust community sentences and post custodial licences. But punishment alone is not enough and cannot be separated from the need to tackle offender problems such as drug, alcohol and mental health problems, poor job skills, employment and accommodation issues, if the prospects of rehabilitation are to be maximised. It is also necessary to supervise offenders effectively, to build on their individual strengths, tackle weakness and challenge offending behaviour. Punishment administered without reference to the individual’s personal, social and economic position will generally not produce lasting effects, lead to poor compliance and result in the need for high levels of enforcement.
The PCA’s work in this area focuses on three key aspects: working with the Poice and other agencies on Integrated Offender Management (IOM), to help manage prolific and priority offenders in the community, on the work probation does for courts to support effective sentencing, and approaches to restorative justice (RJ), where the offender comes to recognise the impact of their offending and makes amends both to the victim and broader community.