The architecture of a probation office: a reflection of policy and an impact on practice

PHILLIPS, Jake (2014). The architecture of a probation office: a reflection of policy and an impact on practice. Probation Journal, 61 (2), 117-131.

Phillips_architecture_of.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (339kB) | Preview
Official URL:
Link to published version::


This article illustrates how the physicality of a probation office can be considered both integral to, and representative of, several important changes in the probation service’s recent history through analysis of research conducted in a probation office. I suggest that the relationship between the ‘protected’ zone of the office and the ‘unprotected’ zone of the waiting area and interview rooms is similar to Goffman’s ‘frontstage’ and ‘backstage’ and expand on his theory of social action by describing how the architecture of probation represents and potentially perpetuates the rise of risk, punishment and managerialism in probation. The article then moves onto the exterior and location of the office to look at how these represent probation’s move away from the communities it serves as well as inadvertently increasing the amount of punishment certain offenders receive. This has significant consequences if the policy of probation moves towards modes of practice which no longer prioritise standardisation and punishment over professional judgment and the importance of the offender-officer relationship and the article concludes by looking to some examples of more inclusive forms of office design and architecture.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Law Research Group
Identification Number:
Page Range: 117-131
Depositing User: Jake Phillips
Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2014 13:50
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 04:32

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics