At a time of extensive international exchange in probation policies and practices, this paper considers the opportunities and challenges of penal policy transfer. Using Ian Hacking’s metaphor of an ecological niche, it is proposed that a number of inter-related vectors constitute an environment in which a transfer might thrive (or fail). A preliminary attempt is made to identify some of these influences. It is argued that the success criteria of transfer have been insufficiently discussed. Transfer can fail, but can also become corrupted. It is proposed that the enhancement of human rights is the single most important criterion for evaluating transfer.
Keywords: Policy transfer, Probation, Penal system, Human rights
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