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Pavlovic, Anita
Languages: English
Types: Doctoral thesis
Subjects: KD
This thesis is concerned with social inquiry and/or pre-sentence reports in criminal cases.\ud These reports are compiled by probation officers, at the request of the court, to assist the\ud court in reaching an appropriate sentencing decision in some criminal cases. This study takes\ud place against and draws upon a wealth of material that has contributed to what is now a\ud considerable body of knowledge but which has also left gaps in our understanding of the\ud ways in which probation reports are constituted and constructed and the implications of this\ud to the wider administration of justice.\ud Empirical accounts of probation reports have largely consisted of documentary analyses or\ud quantitative data. The inherent partiality of these approaches has meant that reports have\ud been artifically decontextualised from their operational moorings.\ud Probation practice has been theoretically located along a care-control continuum that has\ud reflected the historical evolution of sentencing strategies and state intervention into welfare\ud practice.\ud The aim of this thesis is to present a contextualised account of probation reports. In order to\ud unravel and reveal the processes, philosophies and strategies related to report writing and to\ud address the impact of these in the judicial arena, the study was conducted from a grounded\ud observational perspective that acknowledges the complexities of report compilation at the\ud interactive, organisational and systems levels.\ud In adopting this approach it is clear that the care-control model that has been applied to other\ud areas of probation practice is not necessarily conducive to the practice of report compilation\ud because whilst it applies to the role of the probation officer in relation to supervising\ud offenders, it is not readily transferable to the relationship that exists between report writers\ud and sentencers. This relationship is extremely important to both the impact and the content\ud of reports, to the extent that the offender becomes incidental. as opposed to central, to the\ud final document if not to the process. I suggest therefore that, whilst different areas of probation practice are not mutually exclusive, probation reports might be understood in terms\ud of a role-function model.\ud The role of the report writer and the function of the report emanate from an historical context\ud that continues to have an impact on contemporary probation practice but which has rarely\ud been the object of study at an operational level. This thesis attempts to redress the theoretical\ud and empirical balance by adopting a qualitative approach that incorporates an historical\ud perspective into the analysis.
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