Sources of professional effectiveness
Full text beschikbaar met HU account. Hoofdstuk19 in Understanding Penal Practice. In the past two decades there has been much discussion of how to enhance profes- sionalism in probation. Professionals working in probation now have at their dis- posal a range of relevant knowledge about the subject and a variety of evidence- based methods, behavioural interventions and instruments. In general, professionals in probation see this new knowledge as useful and important support in exercising their profession; but it also raises questions for them (Geuijen et al. , 2010; Hermanns and Menger, 2009). One primary question is how they can use their discretion when working with detailed structured protocols (as, for example, in accredited programmes). Another is the appreciation of their tacit knowledge, based on experience, in a setting where evidence- based working has become the overall norm. For some, the question even arises whether the protocols and instruments are strengthening or- to the contrary- at odds with their professionalism. In recent years, these questions have been explicitly placed on the policy agenda by probation officers, their organizations and in the Dutch Parliament, where debates about detailed protocols and reports of worried probation workers reached all political parties. For some time there was even a kind of 'anti- evidence-based' movement. How can it be that the implementation of new knowledge has resulted in such strong defiant sentiments? Should we abandon these 'What works' principles? Is an alternative available or necessary? In this chapter a brief historical overview shows the relevance and the flaws in the Dutch implementation of What Works, followed by several arguments why we should not abandon the What Works principles but instead complement this model with principles from the desistance literature and with an additional model of Who Works principles.