This is familiar territory I fear. The trick here is to define the desirable outcome in a way that allows either for its apparent achievement or more commonly in a way that allows the responsibility for failure to be projected on to others. The most familiar example of the former mechanism is the anti-institution movement. In the Health Service and penal system, this has been a very dominant ideology, apparent from the inability of anyone to ask what is the role and positive purpose of the ‘asylum’. In both sectors, individuals are kept ‘in the community’, and this serves as a satisfactory substitute for success. Whether the interests of the individual patients \ offenders are thereby enhanced is not a matter for serious enquiry.
The latter mechanism is favoured by the Home Office and, I think, the Probation management. The most obvious example is the long running saga of poor referral rates to day centres and groups. Here monitoring systems and targets seem to be designed to demonstrate the effectiveness of management and the failure of the non referring probation officers. This particular show was up and running with Day Training Centres shortly after I joined the Service in 1973 and it shows no sign of flagging. There has been in my experience, little real debate about the nature of the attachment between officer and client, appropriate to our task, and the consequences of this for the use of facilities that require other attachments to be formed.