Transforming rehabilitation:
: the reconfiguration of risk within a community rehabilitation company

  • Suzie Clift

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


In recent decades Probation has been subject to increasing amounts of change, both structurally and in practice. Most notably it has seen a rise in a risk agenda with risk governing the ways in which offenders are worked with. Research has suggested that throughout these changes probation practitioners have been able to maintain a probation culture grounded in its philanthropic roots. Most recently probation has been subject to its greatest, most profound change through the Transforming Rehabilitation agenda which has culminated in the creation of twenty-one private Community Rehabilitation Companies that manage all offenders deemed as posing a low to medium risk of serious harm. Those offenders assessed as a high risk of serious harm now fall under the remit of the National Probation Service which remains within the public sector. Risk governs the allocation of offenders. This study seeks to discover how TR and privatisation have impacted upon the conceptualisations and application of risk within one Community Rehabilitation Company. It examines the modes by which risk is defined, assessed and managed. In addition to this it considers the relationship that has emerged between the Community Rehabilitation Company and National Probation Service and the process of risk escalations where an offender is considered to have crossed the high risk of serious harm threshold. Whilst doing so the study also considers the culture of the Community Rehabilitation Company and the practitioner identity. Based on these data, it would appear that risk has been reconfigured and is now predominantly viewed through a lens of profit affecting both the rehabilitative intent of the work undertaken and risk as a homogenous probation concept. Despite these changes there is evidence to suggest that practitioners are endeavouring to maintain old working practices but their capacity to continue to do so it limited. There are now new working practices in relation to culture and risk that are heterogenic to the Community Rehabilitation Company.

Thus, the research makes a significant contribution to knowledge by outlining the potential for risk as a ubiquitous probation concept to be compromised and corrupted through the creation of Community Rehabilitation Companies.
Date of AwardApr 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Portsmouth
SupervisorMichael Nash (Supervisor)

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