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Home > Arhiva > 2010 > Numar: 3 > Criminal Justice Social Work in Scotland

 Criminal Justice Social Work in Scotland

  • Trish McCulloch (University of Dundee, School of Education, Social Work and Community Education OTI Building Nethergate, DD1 4HN+44 (0)1382 381492 (direct line), E-mail:
  • Fergus McNeill (Professor, Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, University of Glasgow, Florentine House, 53 Hillhead Street, Glasgow G12 8QR, Tel: ++44 (0)141 330 5075 Fax: ++44 (0)141 330 4300, E-mail:

This paper seeks to explore and illuminate the role of social work in criminal justice, locating this discussion in the context of recent developments in Scotland. We begin by giving attention to the distinctive and shifting contexts of criminal justice social work practice before moving on to consider both the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ of the practice task. Integrated throughout the discussion is a concern to engage in the complexity and potential of contemporary criminal justice social work practice, an approach which we believe needs to more routinely inform every aspect of our professional role – from our initial engagements to our overarching expectations of what can be achieved. In conclusion, we suggest that our ability to contribute to a relevant, positive and sustainable future for criminal justice social work – an outcome which in the current context is by no means straightforward - rests not only in our capacity to understand the contemporary story but in our capacity to engage in, define and direct that story for good.

Keywords: criminal justice, social work, Scotland, offender, supervision