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    A risky business: An examination of Irish probation officers’ attitudes towards risk assessment

    Fitzgibbon, Wendy and Hamilton, Claire and Richardson, Michelle (2010) A risky business: An examination of Irish probation officers’ attitudes towards risk assessment. Probation Journal, 57 (2). pp. 163-174. ISSN 0264-5505

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    This article examines recent research on risk assessment and probation practice in Ireland and relates the fi ndings to the ongoing debate regarding risk management practices in probation. The piece discusses current theoretical argu- ments on the infl uence of risk in criminal justice and outlines the impact of risk discourse on probation practice in Ireland and England and Wales. Using a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods, Irish probation offi cers’ attitudes are exam- ined in order to highlight key issues facing probation offi cers when making risk decisions. These fi ndings are compared and contrasted to other research results from England and Wales. All the conclusions identify both positive and negative consequences of adopting risk tools and point to the continued salience of clinical judgment over actuarial methods of risk assessment. It is argued that the research highlights the role of ‘resistance’ by criminal justice professionals in mediating the effects of the ‘new penology’ at the level of implementation. The idea of resistance holds particular relevance for probation practice in Ireland where professional dis- cretion is maintained within the National Standards framework. Despite this, to date there has been an uncritical approach taken to risk assessment which may ignore the dangers of risk infl ation/defl ation and the need to take into account local factors in assessing risk of reoffending.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Ireland; practitioners; probation; resistance; risk assessment;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Business
    Item ID: 5719
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Claire Hamilton
    Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2015 15:54
    Journal or Publication Title: Probation Journal
    Publisher: Sage Publications
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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