To be ‘on probation’ means to be given an opportunity to prove oneself, after committing an offence. Probation emerged over a hundred years ago as a humane approach to helping offenders to change. At that time there was great dissatisfaction with many of the punishments in use. These included death, transportation, corporal punishment and imprisonment.
The Probation of Offenders Act (1907) provided for statutory supervision of offenders in the community and is the foundation for probation work in Ireland.
The development of probation work in Ireland went through a number of phases and was influenced very much by developments in Britain. That was as a result of our shared legislation (up to independence) and common law system. This section will describe briefly the history of our Probation Service:
- The Early History of Probation
- Early Twentieth Century Probation in Ireland
- Developments in the 1960s and 1970s
- From the 1980s to the present