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First published online August 3, 2011

Probation, PSRs and public protection: Has a ‘critical point’ been reached?


This article asks if the time has come to develop ethical and legal safeguards in respect of probation service interviews with offenders related to public protection matters. Police interviews in England and Wales with suspects have long had protective measures around them and have also in recent years developed a whole range of ethical training and protocols to govern the quality of interviewing and information gathering. The measures are deemed necessary as these stages in criminal justice processes are considered to be ‘critical points’. It is argued here that at a time when probation interview training (at least in the qualifying phase) has decreased, the importance attached to the information gained has increased. As indeterminate sentences for public protection become ever-more popular with sentencers, the importance of probation officer risk assessment has reached new heights; yet offenders have only minimal safeguards in terms of what they say to probation officers in interview.

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Published In

Article first published online: August 3, 2011
Issue published: November 2011


  1. interviewing
  2. probation
  3. public protection
  4. safeguards

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Published online: August 3, 2011
Issue published: November 2011



Mike Nash
University of Portsmouth, UK


Mike Nash, Institute of Criminal Justice Studies, Ravelin House, Museum Road, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, PO1 2QQ, UK Email: [email protected]
Mike Nash is Professor of Criminology and head of Department at the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies, University of Portsmouth. He has written extensively on public protection including editing the Handbook of Public Protection (with Andy Williams) published by Willan in 2010.

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