The passing of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000, arguably the most fateful piece of legislation for the Probation Service since 1948, makes this a particularly auspicious moment to review the history of community penalties in England and Wales. A short chapter like this inevitably precludes a comprehensive history of such penalties, but a broad overview of the main developments between 1948 and 1997 – the advent of the New Labour government – is certainly possible. I will conclude with some observations on the changed circumstances in which community penalties are now being created, and also with some thoughts on the value of remembrance. Because the development of community penalties for young and adult offenders has been intertwined, the chapter will encompass both, but will concentrate particularly on the work of the Probation Service.