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47 How. J. Crim. Just. 1 (2008)

handle is hein.journals/hjcj47 and id is 1 raw text is: 



The Howard Journal Vol 47 No 1. February 2008
ISSN 0265-552 7, pp. 1-17




(In)Visible Barriers: The Experience

  of   Asian Employees in the Probation

                               Service


            GURMIT HEER and SUSIE ATHERTON
   Gurmit Heer is Senior Lecturer in Criminal justice and Susie Atherton is
   Research Assistant, School of Social Science, Birmingham City University,
                               Birmingham


Abstract: This article is based on a small piece of research, which was prompted by the
National Association of Asian Probation Staff (NAAPS). They wanted to investigate the
experience of Asian employees in the probation service in England and Wales and
consider wider issues of attitudes toward Asians from staff The research was conducted
jointly with the University of Central England in Birmingham (now Birmingham City
University), with a focus on recruitment, retention and progression within the probation
service. Key findings include a lack of confidence amongst Asian staff with regard to how
management  addresses diversity issues; a perception of change in attitudes towards Asian
staff directly related to the events of 9/11; a lack of understanding from other black and
minority ethnic (BME) and white staff regarding Asian culture, and concern about
promotion chances and job security. There has been little research on the culture of the
probation service, specifically with regard to how management implements policy and how
much  attention is paid to diversity issues. This research highlights the need for further
exploration of these issues, on a wider scale, especially in light of more recent events
impacting on attitudes towards Asians, particularly from the south and east of Asia,
namely, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and China.

InJanuary   2004, when  Her Majesty's Inspector of Probation, Rod Morgan,
commented on the findings from a national staff survey, it   was  revealed
that staff faced more discrimination from colleagues than from clients (Her
Majesty's  Inspectorate  of Probation   (HMIP)   2004).  Based  upon   this
research,  the  National Association  of Asian  Probation   Staff (NAAPS)
decided  to examine  the views of Asian staff to discover the extent of racism
within the probation  service. As a group which had been  established since
1987,  it had not undertaken such  specific research seeking the views of its
members and was not aware of any other research being carried out
previously.
   The  focus of studies looking at racism in the criminal justice system has,
to date, been  primarily concerned  with  the over-representation of black
and  minority  ethnic (BME)  groups  in all stages, as offenders and also as
victims  of crime  (Bowling  and   Phillips 2002; Commission for Racial

                                     1
 Q 2008 The Authors
 journal compilation © 2008 The Howard League
 Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ UK

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