Europe-USA dialogue on offender supervision… and tackling its ‘invisibility’

I published a post a couple of weeks ago from our colleagues at the Robina Institute on a developing US-based research programme on probation and parole not unlike our own. This seems to be the season for European-US dialogue on these issues.

My recent post here on ‘Probation: Myths, Realities and Challenges’ (the text of a speech I delivered at a conference of European Directors of Prisons and Probation that took place in Helsinki in June) has been re-published in the current edition of ‘Executive Exchange’. This is a US journal for probation and parole executives. The editors have given us permission to make the whole edition available here: Executive Exchange FALL 2014-final   It’s an interesting read for the insight it gives into the issues that preoccupy senior managers in the USA.

I was also asked — along with Shadd Maruna (now Dean of Criminal Justice at Rugers University) — to write a short piece on penal reform for the newsletter of the International Division of the American Society of Criminology. As you’ll see, I took the opportunity to tell them a little about the COST Action, and in particular about the problems that supervision’s ‘invisibility’ creates for penal reform. I briefly describe the development of our ‘Supervisible’ pilot project as a response to this problem. You can find the very short paper here: McNeill and Maruna ASC Newsletter

If nothing else, these two approaches from across the Atlantic are encouraging in that they suggest growing interest in the subject matter of the Action. It may even be that the Action has helped get ‘ahead of the game’; certainly I’m looking forward to finding out more at our Belfast meeting tomorrow and Friday about how all of our innovative pilot projects are evolving. It seems as if we are getting down to the ‘real business’ of the Action: developing new conceptual and methodological approaches — but also already thinking about how we can co-produce and exchange new knowlwedge in creative and effective ways.

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