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Timeline :: Probation begins in Scotland

Probation Journal photo

In June 1905, bailie John Bruce Murray (a local councillor), persuaded Glasgow Corporation to establish a committee to consider a trial system of probation, based on ideas that he had learned about from probation services in America.  The committee delivered its report in December 1905 and recommended that police officers, in plain clothes, should be assigned to each of the District Police Courts to act as probation officers.  This was one of the first probation services in the UK to be established and operated by the state (rather than by a charitable organisation).  At the time, Glasgow had a very high imprisonment rate and the need to find alternatives to incarceration meant that other forms of disposal were to be taken into consideration.  The new system seemed to be successful and by 1919, there were 16 probation officers (11 men and 5 women) working in Glasgow, including probation officers whose role was to work with juvenile offenders.

Source:  McNeill, F. (2005) 'Remembering Probation in Scotland', in Probation Journal, vol. 52 (1): 23-38