Nottinghamshire Probation Trust's history to be preserved through new archive

More than 100 years' worth of probation service history in Nottinghamshire is being collected and archived for education and research purposes.

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The Castle Quay office of Nottinghamshire Probation Trust

More than 100 years' worth of probation service history in Nottinghamshire is being collected and archived for education and research purposes.

The project, involving Nottingham Trent University researchers and the Galleries of Justice, aims to mark the closure of the Nottinghamshire Probation Trust at the end of this month and will include oral and written accounts by current and retired probation staff.

The information will be kept at the city's Galleries of Justice Museum, which also houses the Prison Service archives.

As part of the project, criminology researchers at the University have recorded interviews with more than 50 staff about their work, spanning major changes in the nature of offender supervision and management since the 1960s.

It is hoped that the archive will provide a source of material for academic research about community penalties and for educational programmes about criminal justice, run by the Galleries of Justice.

From 1 June, management of higher risk offenders transfers to the Midlands Division of the National Probation Service. Lower risk offenders will become the responsibility of a new Community Rehabilitation Company for Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland.

This project draws on 107 years' history of formal community rehabilitation of offenders.

Dr Paul Hamilton, Nottingham Trent University

"The probation service was formally established in 1907 and in the following 20 years, probation played a key role in halving the prison population," said Dr Paul Hamilton, criminology course leader in Nottingham Trent University's School of Social Sciences.

He said: "This project draws on 107 years' history of formal community rehabilitation of offenders. We aim to collate, capture and archive the experiences, meanings and values of individuals involved with delivering or receiving probation service interventions – under licence or on a community order – in Nottinghamshire."

Christine Goldstraw, OBE, Chair of the Nottinghamshire Probation Trust Board, said: "This initiative marks the end of an era, and the transition of Nottingham Probation Trust into two new organisations.

"On behalf of the Board I pay tribute to the staff whose reminiscences have contributed to the archive, and most importantly to the work done by all the staff of the Trust and its predecessors in supporting the punishment and rehabilitation of offenders in Nottinghamshire."

Bev Baker, the senior curator and archivist at the Galleries of Justice, said: "This has been a wonderful opportunity for the Galleries of Justice Museum to be involved in a project that’s capturing the history of the work of Nottinghamshire Probation Trust.

"The Trust's archive and oral histories will complement the museum's other probation archive collections, thus giving us a greater understanding of the work of the Probation Trust, both past and present.  It will give us the opportunity to use the material in future exhibitions and inform our education programmes."

Based on the written contributions the Trust has also produced a commemorative booklet providing a snapshot history of the Probation Service in Nottinghamshire. It includes photos by Derek Spencer, a retired senior probation officer, showing many of the buildings occupied by the organisation over the years.

A reception will be held in the Grand Jury Room at the Galleries of Justice on 21 May for representatives of Nottinghamshire Probation Trust, Nottingham Trent University and the Galleries of Justice – as well as staff who have contributed their memories to the project.

Nottinghamshire Probation Trust's history to be preserved through new archive

Published on 16 May 2014
  • Category: Business; Research; School of Social Sciences

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