Published online by Cambridge University Press: 02 January 2018
The origins of the probation service can be traced back to the late-Victorian era and the introduction of the so-called police court missionaries who supervised offenders on conditional release from the court. The service grew slowly, but mushroomed in the 1970s and 1980s when several major acts widened the scope of the service by introducing parole, aftercare of discharged prisoners, community service by offenders, and extended the scope of probation and bail hostels. Since the beginning of this decade the probation service has been working in an ever-changing legal and philosophical context. Public protection and the prevention of crime are our primary aims. Legislation and ministerial directives have necessitated increasing involvement of probation offices in work with offenders with mental disorder, and have brought into greater focus the relationship of the probation service with psychiatry.
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