Legitimacy Through Neutrality: Probation and Conflict in Northern Ireland

Nicola Carr, Shadd Maruna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The conflict in Northern Ireland known as the Troubles presented numerous challenges for the administration of traditional forms of criminal justice and has led to a variety of adaptations that have been widely discussed in the literature in criminology and transitional justice. The role of Northern Ireland's probation service is often forgotten or ignored in such analyses. This brief article is intended to begin to fill this gap by exploring how the Troubles impacted on probation practice during the Conflict and beyond. In particular, we argue that the 'neutrality stance' taken by probation in the mid-1970s, when officers decided to cease mandated work with individuals charged with 'politically-motivated' offences, has had a lasting impact on the identity and role of probation in the region. The deep immersion into, and engagement with, marginalised communities during this time, facilitated by this neutrality stance, has overlooked implications for probation practice more widely in the United Kingdom and abroad.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)474-487
Number of pages14
JournalHoward Journal of Criminal Justice
Issue number5
Early online date07 Nov 2012
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law


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