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7 Eur. J. Probation 3 (2015)

handle is hein.journals/eurjp7 and id is 1 raw text is: 

Editorial                                                               E   JP

                                                              European Journal of Probation
                                                                      2015, Vol. 7(I) 3-4
Editorial                                                          © The Author(s) 2015
                                                                 Reprints and permissions:
                                                            DOI: 10.1177/2066220315576454

By coincidence rather than design, this edition of the European Journal of Probation
looks a little like a special issue on probation, imprisonment and desistance. Two of the
articles examine current and historical penal practices (Schinkel and McNeill, Harrikari
and Westerholm). The other two (McCulloch and Judd and Lewis) offer arguments about
how practice should be constructed or reconstructed.
   Although Harrikari and Westerholm's account of the evolution of community sanc-
tions in Finland makes no direct reference to the desistance literature, the familiar story
that it tells - of a gradual shift away from penal welfarism - is one that raises questions
about whether late-modem penal adaptations of supervision practice are likely to make
it more or less likely to support desistance. Perhaps that question requires another arti-
cle, but at first sight it would seem that at least some of the practices that they suggest
are being displaced or marginalised even in Finland (for example, diminishing support
with housing or with income maintenance issues) may well remain important for sup-
porting desistance, even if they have been de-prioritised relative to more penal aspects
of supervision.
   Schinkel and McNeill's article shifts locus, exploring the narratives of long-term pris-
oners in Scotland, and exploring the extent to which their experiences of imprisonment
might impede or assist desistance efforts. This being a journal about probation, one of
their key messages for our readers is about re-entry and reintegration: For some prisoners
in some circumstances, imprisonment may encourage the development of narratives of
personal transformation, but the realisation of that project post-release emerges as being
deeply problematic - both because of the nature of imprisonment and because of the
nature of their post-release lives. The implications for resettlement work are both obvi-
ous and troubling.
   Although Schinkel and McNeill's article should encourage penal reductionism,
McCulloch's serves to caution us about how we should construct the supervisory sanc-
tions that might provide alternatives to imprisonment. Her central argument is that, if
we want these sanctions to support positive change (including desistance from crime),
we need to move beyond the policy preoccupation (at least in some jurisdictions) with
compliance, and reconsider how to foster cooperation and coproduction in probation
   In a different way, Judd and Lewis discuss similar issues. Their specific focus is on
young adult offenders and on the challenges of seeking to support their desistance path-
ways. In many ways, their discussion of the importance of establishing positive working
relationships - and of the difficulties of doing so - echoes McCulloch's concerns, but it
also begs questions about whether the sorts of social and penal change reflected in
Harrikari and Westerholm's article are making the practitioner's task more difficult?

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