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Shades of professionalism: Risk assessment in pre‐sentence reports in Sweden

  • Anders Persson
  • Kerstin Svensson
Publishing year: 2012
Language: English
Pages: 176-190
Publication/Series: European Journal of Criminology
Volume: 9
Issue: 3
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: SAGE Publications

Abstract english

Abstract in Undetermined

An emphasis on risk assessment has been introduced in the instructions guiding pre-sentence reports in Sweden. Since this focus indicates an organizational aspiration to risk management, we examined how pre-sentence assessments are made and especially how probation officers relate to risk assessments. Our results show that probation officers do not act in accordance with the guidelines; they tend to focus on offender needs and social situations more than risk factors, and the reports still resemble the previous social reports based on clinical assessments. This article is based on an analysis of 1320 pre-sentence reports, along with 18 individual interviews and 6 focus groups with probation officers.


  • Social Work
  • pre-sentence reports
  • probation
  • professionalism
  • risk assessment


  • ISSN: 1741-2609
Kerstin Svensson
E-mail: kerstin [dot] svensson [at] soch [dot] lu [dot] se


School of Social Work

+46 46 222 04 61


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Lund University
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