Probation, Time and Power: A Visual Criminological Analysis

Dr Hannah Graham1

1University Of Stirling, Stirling, United Kingdom

This paper presents a specific set of findings from a visual criminological study of probation and community justice in England and Wales. With few exceptions, very limited visual analysis of probation supervision and community punishment has been done, with extant scholarship reflecting the hegemony of the prison, courts and policing in visual representations of criminal justice. In this study, the research sample comprises 860 digital images, using social media and visual research methods. Images in the sample are pre-existing visual artefacts in that they are ‘found’ images that are naturally occurring, mostly taken by probation staff and shared publicly on social media, rather than elicited, prescribed or re-enacted for research. The images span a seven year period (2014-2020) that is contextually significant for the widely criticised, large-scale changes under the Conservative UK Government’s ‘Transforming Rehabilitation’ (TR) reforms, most notably the splitting and semi-privatisation of probation (which has since embarked on reunification). There are few visual criminological studies like this to date. Informed by the work of Javier Auyero (2011, 2012) on power and the politics of waiting and by emerging scholarship in European penology on time and punishment (Robinson and Carr, forthcoming), this paper focuses on presenting the findings centred on time and temporality.


Dr Hannah Graham is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology in the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR) at the University of Stirling, Scotland. Hannah is an Editor of the European Journal of Probation (SAGE). Outside the university, Hannah is a member of the Scottish Sentencing Council, a public appointment to an independent advisory body. She is also a member of the National Council of the Scottish Association for the Study of Offending (SASO). Hannah previously studied and worked as an academic in Criminology and Sociology at the University of Tasmania, Australia. Twitter: @DrHannahGraham.


Dec 08 2021