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Introduction: What Works and What Matters

Mair, George
June 4, 2015

Source: (2004) IN, George Mair,ed., What Matters in Probation?. Cullompton, Devon,UK: Willan Publishing. Pp. 1-11.

In this essay, editor George Mair introduces What matters in probation. The book, a collection of essays written by a number of academics and professionals in criminal justice and in probation specifically, deals with the current practice of probation in England and Wales. It arises from skepticism on the part of Mair and others about this approach. This approach to probation stems from Probation Circular 35/1998, entitled Effective Practice Initiative: National Implementation Plan for the Supervision of Offenders, and published by the Home Office in June 1998. This came to be known as the What Works initiative, an approach emphasizing the development and application of demonstrably “effectiveâ€? programs for supervision of offenders, where most programs are grounded in cognitive behavioral therapy. Mair writes that there has been little substantive debate among academics and professionals about issues and questions pertaining to the initiative and its effects. Hence, this book is intended to make up for that lack of examination and discussion. To introduce it, Mair sketches the rise and nature of the What Works initiative, and he poses certain key questions about it. Additionally, he outlines each of the contributions to the book.


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