• Nicola Padfield (senior lecturer at the University of Cambridge. Contact: Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge CB3 0DG; email: nmp21@cam.ac.uk)

This special issue of the European Journal of Probation seeks to cast some light on a subject which until recently appears to have been somewhat hidden. There has been widespread discussion of growing prison populations, but so far, it would appear that both European academic criminology and public debate have largely ignored one important cause: the decisions of administrative or judicial bodies to recall released prisoners back to prison. This provides something of a paradox: the increasing size of prison populations, and the increasing use of recall, is happening at the same time as there appears to be an increase in the number and variety of early release schemes. Paradoxically, an „improvement‟ in the supervision of released offenders may actually lead to a rise in the prison population: closer supervision may mean more recalls to prison?

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