CALL FOR PAPERS: The future of Probation post 2020 - special issue

Kevin Wong, Jean Hine

Dear Colleague,

Last year it was with much sadness that we announced that our colleague Paul Senior had passed away. Paul co-founded our journal in 2002 with his friend and colleague Dave Ward – a stalwart of this journal and our editorial board’s longest serving member. Paul was Co-Editor from 2002 till his retirement in 2016. His last issue was on the theme of “Imagining Probation in 2020: hopes, fears and insights”.  Throughout his professional life, Paul was a passionate advocate for probation as a practitioner, policy commentator, trainer and academic.

The papers for this special issue  arose from imaginative discussions between Paul and a small group of “probation colleagues” closeted within a country house hotel in the “heart of the old county of Westmoreland” (Senior 2016). The two-day gathering of “Socratic dialogue” occurred during the latter part of 2015, as the Transforming Rehabilitation (TR) reforms (MoJ 2013) were taking effect in England and Wales. TR’s part-privatisation of probation has of course come full circle with the re-publicisation of probation announced in June 2020; described by The Guardian newspaper as “…marking the final nail in the coffin of Chris Grayling’s disastrous privatisation changes.” (The Guardian, 2020).

In his editorial to Paul commented that: “The death knell has been sounding for probation for some years now and this group was gathering to imagine what probation might look like in 2020, if indeed it had a future!” (Senior, 2016).

We are dedicating this special issue to Paul and inviting colleagues to take on Paul’s challenge afresh. We are welcoming submissions from policy makers, practitioners, academics and researchers with their reflections on the future of probation post 2020.  We are interested in learning what we can from the years of TR because not to do so would be remiss – but we are also and equally to keen to hear about reflections from colleagues on probation developments that have occurred in other countries.

We encourage submissions from early career researchers and from international colleagues in  jurisdictions outside the United Kingdom. There is much that we can all learn from how probation is developing in different policy and practice contexts.

We suggest that a good (but not exclusive) starting point for these new papers may be in thinking and responding to the ideas expressed in the 2016 special issue . It kicked off in philosophical fashion with a consideration of the “Essence of probation” penned by Paul as the lead author. Among the other papers:  Lol Burke, Michael Teague, Dave Ward and Anne Worrall considered the occupational culture of probation;   Charlotte Knight, Jake Phillips and Tim Chapman discussed emotional literacy in probation practice; Anthony Goodman and Jane Dominey explored the potential relationship between higher education and probation; John Deering (who was unable to join the Westmoreland gathering) explored what it might feel like for practitioners in 2020; Mike Nellis (who also was unable to join the gathering) produced a detailed paper on techno corrections; and Michael Teague concluded the issue with the impact of neoliberal thinking on the marketisation of probation services.

We hope that these papers will intrigue and inspire you in your own imaginings about probation’s future and very much look forward to hearing from you.

Kevin Wong and Jean Hine



Our timetable for publishing this special issue is:

Deadline for abstracts and expressions of interest in writing for the special issue: 31st October 2020

Deadline for submissions – 31st January 2021

Publication – June 2021

The journal’s editorial board look forward with interest to receiving your submissions.

If you would like to submit a paper or discuss an idea for a paper please contact us at

Please note that papers should be no longer than 7,000 words (including references but excluding the abstract).



Ministry of Justice (2013) Transforming Rehabilitation: A revolution in the way we manage offenders, London: Ministry of Justice. Available at:   (accessed 12 November 2018)

Senior, P. (2016) Editorial: A Conversation with Paul Senior, British Journal of Community Justice 16:1

The Guardian (2020) Probation services to return to public control after Grayling disasters  accessed 19.09.20

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