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The role of probation officers' reports in magistrates' sentencing decisions.

Armitage, Jill (2021) The role of probation officers' reports in magistrates' sentencing decisions. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86216) (KAR id:86216)


During the past decade research findings have suggested effective ways for probation officers to work with 4 offenders. At the same time, the Criminal Justice Act 1991 changed the sentencing framework, as well as the manner in which probation officers write court reports and supervise offenders. Both of these chancres led to an increase in the monitoring and evaluation of probation officers' work, and the appropriate targeting of sentence proposals, as well as take-up rates for proposals, took on greater significance and became more closely monitored than ever before. The present study examines the effects of these changes C: I on probation officers' selection and presentation of community sentence proposals, and it looks at factors that affect court rates of take-up for these proposals, includina the offence committed, ender of offender, risk of custody, the presence of social problems and risk 4n of re-offending. The main focus of the study is upon the sentencing choice between community service and probation, which partly reflects the choice between punishment and rehabilitation. Data relating to sentence proposals and outcomes are analysed using cross-tabulation tables, which provide a readily understood method of examining outcomes relative to proposals. These quantitative analyses are combined with three qualitative studies of written reports, which provide insights into reasons for sentencing decisions not apparent from the statistical data alone. The study discusses ways in which probation officers and magistrates may take differing perspectives concerning the main alms of sentencing and hence may disagree over what constitutes the most appropriate sentence. The study concludes that despite the requirements of both effective practice guidelines and the CJA C) 1991, the probation service has been unsuccessful in convincing magistrates that the probation order is capable C, of achieving multiple sentencing objectives for more serious offenders

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86216
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: Community service; Criminal Justice Act
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
K Law > KZ Law of Nations
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:35 UTC
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2022 16:36 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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