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Probation: Key Readings presents a comprehensive selection of 'key readings' in community penalties. It is divided into six sections, each with a detailed introduction from the editors. Section one showcases central policy perspectives on the role, tasks and significance of the probation service since its inception in 1907, demonstrating the key shifts in political opinion that have taken place. Section two considers the history and development of probation and other community penalties, including accounts of the emergence and origins of such penalties. Section three looks more theoretically at these developments, illustrating the extent of professional and academic debate about the purpose of probation in a changing criminal justice climate through the models of practice that have been proposed and elaborated at different times in the history of the service. Section four examines practice, including some of the key programmes that have been developed such as day centres, drug programmes, intensive supervision projects, together with innovative experiments in community engagement. It covers various techniques and approaches to working with offenders, such as casework, groupwork and partnership working. The fifth section includes various articles on the theme of diversity, a longstanding concern of probation staff. Finally, section six looks at the arguments around effectiveness, including how it is measured and the Nothing Works/What Works debate. Probation: Key Readings will be essential reading for practitioners, trainees and students of probation.