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Probation training, cognition and crime: Uses and abuses of theory

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In this article it is argued that a fundamental revolution in the theory base of the Probation Service is currently underway. This is exemplified in the proposed changes to Probation qualifying training according to which the Home Office intends to remove this from both higher education and social work. The author argues that this represents an abandonment of a holistic approach to the rehabilitation of offenders in favour of a model of reformatory intervention plundered wholly inappropriately from a complex body of cognitive theory. The article reviews the recent history in relation to the application of psychological theories to probation and social work practice and education, and warns of the dangers of misusing theory to satisfy a perceived demand for a simplistic, reductionist view of offending behaviour.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Exter

Publication date: January 1, 1996

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