Probation Officer well-being: emotional labour and burnout

Organised by the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Criminology

Probation officer well-being: emotional labour and burnout amongst probation practitioners in England and Wales

Speaker: Dr Jake Phillips, Reader in Criminology at Sheffield Hallam University

Abstract: In previous work we have argued that probation work requires practitioners to perform considerable levels of emotional labour as part of their daily work. When we look to research in other fields, we see that emotional labour – the management of one’s emotions for a wage – is linked to lower staff well-being and higher levels of burnout yet no study has, hitherto, sought to understand the extent of this relationship in the field of community sanctions. This talk will present an analysis of data collected with probation practitioners in England and Wales, focusing on levels of burnout and how that is linked to the extent to which practitioners perform emotional labour as part of their work. The presentation will finish by considering the implications of our findings for policy and practice, reflect on the likely impact of the pandemic on these issues.

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