Probation officers’ attitudes towards balancing public protection and human rights in the risk management framework of Mappa
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AbstractThis study is a response to the need for reconsideration of the place of human rights in offender management following the Human Rights Act 1998. Probation has remained hesitant in engaging with the rights of offenders and victims when other expectations in relation to punishment, public protection and risk become the service’s priority. The same concepts have created dilemmas for probation practitioners who find themselves in the arena of rehabilitation where offenders, victims and the public coexist. The thesis’ emphasis is placed on unravelling these professional attitudes towards balancing the forces between the interests of the individual offender and the interests of victims and the public. The research initially examines the literature in the area and reviews the factors that appear directly linked to human rights, such as the current probation context, risk assessment, relationships, public protection, and the interplay between crime control and due process. The methods employed include documentary analysis of case law on offenders’ human rights claims to ascertain the legal expectations of practitioners, and content analysis of semi-structured interviews conducted with active MAPPA probation officers based in West Midlands to identify their human rights understandings and awareness, balancing approaches towards individual and public interests and what affects their perceptions. The study found a variability of human rights understandings that operate on the street-level and in most instances do not appear in line with the HRA or the accurate meaning of proportionality. There does not appear to be any human rights training in the experience of the participants or specific attention to human rights considerations in risk assessments. Their attitudes towards balancing rights, risk and public protection are rather constructed and cannot be considered as their own because they remain affected and determined by cumulative failures of the service, external socio-political factors, and misplaced public expectations.
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
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