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Probation officers working with men

Scourfield, Jonathan Bryn ORCID: 1998. Probation officers working with men. British Journal of Social Work 28 (4) , pp. 581-599.

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Recent debates on making masculinities explicit in work with offenders are reviewed as the context for a qualitative research study. Interviews were conducted with probation officers and files and pre-sentence reports read with the aim of exploring the construction of masculinities within the probation service. Tensions about gender were found within and between the three areas of professional rhetoric, practice and internal relations. The most significant finding is a gap between rhetoric and practice. While most officers interviewed spoke of an interest in focusing either directly or indirectly on their clients' identity as men, the files and reports found only a very small amount of direct work on this. There was a larger amount of evidence of work that could be seen as indirectly challenging masculinites, but another significant part of the files and reports on men reflected a tendency towards ignoring gender or even colluding with oppressive masculinities. . . . it is as least as important to deal with these offenders as men as it is to deal with these men as offenders (Newbum and Mair, 1996, p. 3). These words exemplify a growing awareness of the importance of questioning and challenging masculinities in work with offenders. This paper describes a study of what probation officers say and write about their work with men. The research was conducted in the context of some recent discussion amongst criminologists and probation officers about crime and masculinities and about making masculinities explicit in work with offenders.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 0045-3102
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2022 09:08

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