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Piloting different approaches to personalised offender management in the English criminal justice system

Fox, C and Harrison, J and Marsh, C and Smith, A (2018) Piloting different approaches to personalised offender management in the English criminal justice system. International Review of Sociology, 28 (1). pp. 35-61. ISSN 0390-6701

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Abstract

© 2018 University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’. Various approaches to personalisation are well-established in the UK social care sector and are now starting to ‘travel’ to other sectors. In this paper we report findings from an evaluation of a pilot to test elements of personalisation in the management of offenders in probation services within the English criminal justice system. Following a review of evidence from social care, three different approaches to personalised-practice were developed and tested on a small-scale in three separate sites. The evaluation finds that all three approaches were implemented reasonably successfully, but challenges were identified including that personalised approaches are more time-consuming, that staff need support to exercise professional discretion and that balancing greater choice with managing criminogenic risk requires new ways of conceptualising the relationship between case manager and service user. Overall, ‘deeper’ approaches to personalisation, such as co-production, will take time to emerge. This paper makes two important contributions to the debate on personalisation in public services. First, it addresses the question of how transferable the concept of personalisation is from the social care sector to other sectors in the UK, in this case the criminal justice system. Secondly, it outlines a methodology for developing and evaluating personalisation pilots, prior to a wider roll-out.

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