The core subject matter of this book concerns community penalties (non-custodial options that restrict the offender’s liberty in some way). It arises from a conviction that instability, if not confusion, about the purposes of community orders and their place in the sentencing framework has been partly responsible for enabling custody to ﬂourish during the last decade as the only punishment with real public credibility. In undertaking the research reported in the book, in which I sought the views of people with a particular interest in criminal justice about the role of community penalties, my aim was therefore to consider how the theoretical underpinnings for community penalties might be strengthened. I hope that, in turn, this will aid their development in policy and practice so enabling them to command greater support as punishments in their own right. In the book, I consider the implications of my ﬁndings for the kind of role that community penalties might be expected to play and how they might best be developed to perform that role, taking account of recent research and policy and practice initiatives relating to community-based disposals.