Source: (2006) Criminology & Criminal Justice. 6(1):39-62.
In an influential article published in the British Journal of Social Work in 1979, Anthony Bottoms and Bill McWilliams proposed the adoption of a â€˜non-treatment paradigmâ€™ for probation practice. Their argument rested on a careful and considered analysis not only of empirical evidence about the ineffectiveness of rehabilitative treatment but also of theoretical, moral and philosophical questions about such interventions. By 1994, emerging evidence about the
potential effectiveness of some intervention programmes was
sufficient to lead Peter Raynor and Maurice Vanstone to suggest significant revisions to the â€˜non-treatment paradigmâ€™. In this article, it is argued that a different but equally relevant form of empirical evidenceâ€”that derived from desistance studiesâ€”suggests a need to re-evaluate these earlier paradigms for probation practice. This reevaluation
is also required by the way that such studies enable us
to understand and theorize both desistance itself and the role that penal professionals might play in supporting it. Ultimately, these empirical and theoretical insights drive us back to the complex interfaces between technical and moral questions that preoccupied Bottoms and McWilliams and that should feature more prominently in contemporary debates about the futures of â€˜offender managementâ€™ and of our penal systems. author’s abstract.
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