Indexed on: 22 Mar '17Published on: 15 Mar '17Published in: The Howard Journal of Crime and Justice
This article considers the recent partial privatisation of probation services in England and Wales from the theoretical perspective of legitimacy. Drawing in particular on Beetham's (1991) work, we argue that the question of legitimacy in respect of privatised probation services is a complex one which requires attention to the multiple – and different – perspectives of key stakeholders or constituencies in the probation field. We argue that in the probation context there are five key stakeholder groups: the general public; offenders and victims; ministers and civil servants; sentencers; and probation employees and their representatives. We consider what is known about the perspectives of each of these groups in turn, before concluding that privatised probation services need to be aware of both the legitimacy deficits they face and the complex dynamics likely to be involved in its cultivation with these different constituencies.