Covid-19 and Probation’s Health-Related Role

Staff working for the probation service in England and Wales perform a health-related role that is outlined in the National Probation Service Health and Social Care Strategy 2019-2022. This includes identifying and facilitating access to support for health-related drivers of offending behaviour, developing clear pathways into services for people on probation, advising the courts on the use of Community Sentence Treatment Requirements, and supporting continuity of care for people being released from prison.

A research team have been working on an ESRC funded study around the impact of the response to the pandemic on this health-related role, the lived experience of accessing support for health issues whilst engaging with probation, and partnership working and pathways into healthcare for people on probation. This study included analysis of qualitative surveys completed by probation staff, interviews with people that were under probation supervision during the pandemic, and follow-up calls with probation staff to add detail to the survey findings.

The research team, which includes academics from the University of Lincoln and a staff member and individuals with lived experience of the criminal justice system based with Revolving Doors Agency have now produced an info-graphic (shown below) to summarise the main findings from this study in a format that is easy to engage with.

Info graphic summarising findings

One of the key changes to probation practice that occurred during the pandemic was a shift from face-to-face supervision, to increased use of door step supervision, and supervision by other means including by telephone and online platforms such as Microsoft Teams. The team have produced some principles to consider around the future use of blended supervision in probation based on the experiences described by probation staff and people under supervision that participated in the study. These can be accessed here:

Further findings from the study will be shared at this web address in due course.

This research is funded by the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC), as part of UK Research and Innovation’s rapid response to Covid-19, grant number EP/V038982/1




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