Reflections from research

These five minute reflections from research videos are aimed at all those interested in the key lessons from probation and youth justice research studies. Reflecting upon their work, leading academics set out their top pieces of advice for the delivery of high-quality probation and/or youth offending services. The videos help to provide a rounded view of the evidence base, assisting with informed debate and aiding understanding of what helps and what hinders service delivery.

The views expressed in each of the videos do not necessarily reflect the policy position of HM Inspectorate of Probation.

Disclaimer: an external platform has been used to host these videos. Recommendations for further viewing may appear at the end of the videos and are beyond our control.

Professor Shadd Maruna

Queen’s University Belfast

  1. Focus on destigmatisation and de-labelling
  2. Celebrate achievements of reintegration
  3. Identify role models and pay attention to success stories

Even though we think about desistance as journey that each person has to go on, people don’t go on that journey alone and we find in the lives of a successful desistor, there are always mentors and role models


Shadd Maruna is a Professor of Criminology at Queen’s University Belfast. His research interests include desistance from crime, reintegration and redemption from multiple perspectives, and penal reform. Previously, he has worked at the University of Cambridge, the State University of New York, and Rutgers University where he was Dean of the School of Criminal Justice. He received the Howard League for Penal Reform’s inaugural Research Medal in 2013, and his book Making Good was named the Outstanding Contribution to Criminology by the American Society of Criminology (ASC) in 2001. He is currently President of the ASC, the largest and oldest criminology society in the world.

Video uploaded 22 September 2023


Professor Hannah Smithson

Manchester Metropolitan University

  1. Let young people participate
  2. Adopt a public health approach
  3. Learn from the impact of the pandemic

I advocate for a whole system approach to addressing children’s needs because disjointed services ultimately result in disjointed approaches

Biography: Hannah Smithson is Professor of Criminology and Youth Justice and Director of the Manchester Centre for Youth Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University (Man Met). She is the co-convenor of the award winning Greater Manchester Youth Justice Partnership – a partnership between Man Met and each of the ten Greater Manchester youth justice services. She works collaboratively with a variety of local, national and international communities and stakeholders, including professionals, activists and third sector organisations. Her research has been instrumental in shaping agendas in research and policy across the interconnected areas of youth justice, serious youth violence, and child criminal exploitation.

Video uploaded 08 June 2023


Professor Peter Raynor

Swansea University

  1. Be guided by the evidence
  2. Focus on developing practitioner knowledge and skills
  3. Maintain a consistent focus on implementation

I would advocate always a very consistent focus on getting the implementation right. Often we see good ideas that fail because the implementation isn’t right. This doesn’t help the effectiveness or the reputation of the service

Biography: Peter Raynor is a former probation officer, now Emeritus Research Professor in Criminology at Swansea University. During a long research career he has published widely on criminal justice practice and the effectiveness of probation. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, and was a member of the Correctional Services Accreditation and Advice Panel from 1999 to 2022. In 2016 he received the inaugural Research Award of the Confederation of European Probation.

Video uploaded 08 June 2023


Professor Nicola Carr

University of Nottingham

  1. Give practitioners the time and space for reflection
  2. Engage with the diversity of perspectives
  3. Engage with research and the evidence base

To be involved, as reflective practitioners, in contributing to the evidence base on what probation practice and youth justice practice means and should be about, and that’s grounded in ethics, evidence and empathy as far as I am concerned

Biography: Nicola Carr is a Professor in Criminology at the University of Nottingham. She is editor of the Probation Journal, and an editorial board member of Youth Justice, the British Journal of Criminology, and the Irish Probation Journal. She became a member of the Confederation of European Probation (CEP) Board in October 2022, and was previously co-chair of the European Society of Criminology’s Working Group on Community Sanctions and Measures and a scientific expert for the Council of Europe’s Council of Penological Co-Operation (PC-CP) where she helped to develop guidelines regarding the recruitment, selection, education, training and professional development of prison and probation staff.

Video uploaded 08 June 2023