chapter  8
Accountability: difference and diversity in the delivery of community penalties
ByLoraine Gelsthorpe
Pages 22

The aim this chapter is to reflect on certain dimensions of the notion of accountability which affect the offender. Much of the general criminal justice discourse of accountability revolves around managerial and cost issues (good stewardship of tax-payers’ money) and around obligations towards ‘the community’ (Clarke and Newman 1997; Rutherford 1993). Equally, debates about accountability often include an important focus on responsibilities towards victims (Zedner 1997; Crawford and Goodey 2000; Sanders 1999), the development of multiple forms of crime control in the community, the reciprocal obligations of those agencies involved in the delivery of community penalties, and, in particular, on the utility of the principle of harm reduction for coherent and accountable practice developments (see chapter 7 in this book). Thus in one way, a focus on the offender completes the picture and at the same time can help to avoid the false dichotomy which is sometimes drawn between offenders and victims. Indeed, it can be plausibly argued that attention to the ‘personhood’ or experiences of the offender can ultimately benefit victims (especially bearing in mind that offenders and victims are often drawn from one and the same social group).