Institutional thoughtlessness and the needs of older probation clients.

CADET, Nichola (2020). Institutional thoughtlessness and the needs of older probation clients. Probation Journal.

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This article explores the increase in the number of older people on probation caseloads, ‘Older’ clients are defined as those aged 50 and over, in line with the use of this definition by Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS). Drawing upon a Freedom of Information request submitted to the Ministry of Justice, the research shows increases in the age of probation clients across community orders, suspended sentences, and a particular increase in the proportion of clients being supervised on licence. Furthermore, increases in the number of older clients accommodated in Approved Premises means that one in five residents are aged over 50. Despite this increase, there is a dearth of research relating to the needs of older people on probation caseloads, and how well probation services and staff are equipped to meet their needs. Consequently, this article draws upon research outlining how the needs of older people in prison are identified, met, and draws some inferences to the probation experience. This prompts the question of whether probation is ‘institutionally thoughtless’ a term coined relating to the daily experiences of older prisoners. Such thoughtlessness includes a lack of appreciation of the physical environment, alongside a regime tailored towards the needs of younger prisoners, e.g. education, work and programmes. The article also draws on research from qualitative interviews with older prisoners who are in prison for the first time. The interviews highlighted their ambivalence towards completing accredited programmes which may also be applicable to probation settings. The article concludes that action to tackle potential discrimination is required through a commitment to justice, self-awareness and knowledge via pragmatic action at policy and practice level.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1602 Criminology
Identification Number:
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2020 17:23
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 00:50

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