“What an agency aspires to do and announces in its policies always bears an uncertain relationship to what it really does”. Canton makes this obvious, yet bold statement early on in this incredibly rewarding book. He goes on to investigate this declaration by exploring many aspects of probation practice and highlighting the discrepancies that occur between
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policy and practice. Fortunately for the reader, Canton has managed to create a text which is not simply descriptive, but thought provoking and stimulating. He even goes as far as encouraging the reader to disagree with its main thesis and he encourages self thought throughout the book. As a former Probation Officer himself, Canton‟s personal experience seeps through and gives the book a personal dimension which is lacking in other similar texts. He states early on that “the value of probation consists above all in what it represents and stands for – especially the values of social inclusion and a belief in the possibility of personal change”, this is a premise that Canton refers back to continually and it is this ideology that makes this book so heartening to read.