Treating Probation Like Social Work


Should the criminal justice system take cues from the social work sector?

A new policy brief by the Criminal Justice Alliance — a British coalition of 70 organizations involved in policy and practice across the criminal justice system — calls for the probation system to adopt the social care model of “personalization,” which utilizes individualized plans to reduce recidivism.

The personalization model relies heavily on probation supervisors, who consider an offender's strengths and skills, as well as needs and vulnerabilities, and craft an individualized social work program for the offender.

The briefing highlights key elements of personalization, including how supervisors can encourage offenders to focus on relationships, communities and responsibility.

The paper authors argue that personalization should be a key facet of justice reinvestment, a movement to manage and allocate criminal justice populations more cost-effectively.

“Justice reinvestment can be helpful in establishing the broader framework within which to develop local personalization,” the authors wrote. “It is based on localism and the idea that criminal justice policy needs to be tailored to local areas with a greater role for communities in responding to crime and offending.”

Read the policy brief HERE.

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