At the beginning of this book we stated our intention to explore the meaning of ‘doing probation work’ from the perspective of retired, former, new and experienced current probation workers across the range of grades. In our 60 interviews we explored what motivates people to become probation workers, how they make sense of their work, how they respond to turbulent political times and media criticism, and what stories they tell about the value of their contribution to society. We also set out to challenge the position held by some of our academic colleagues that the story of probation is one of decline. Our research suggests that while working in a much-changed world, probation workers retain a strong sense of their roots, tradition, cultures and professionalism. Modern probation workers can handle the ‘imaginary’. They can do what is required of them – they can be competent offender managers – while constructing identities that allow them to believe that they are still part of an ‘honourable profession’ (PW3). In this final chapter, we discuss first the extent to which it is possible to identify probation culture(s) and we outline cultural characteristics under five broad headings: motivation, artefacts, job satisfaction, meaning and (re)presentation. We then address the pervasive themes of nostalgia and the narrative of decline, suggesting that nostalgia, far from being a ‘defence of the weak’ (Mathiesen 1965) or an escape from an intolerable present, provides a means of dealing with that present and reinforcing a positive identity in the face of an organizational and external environment that is perceived to be largely hostile. Next we revisit the three case studies we introduced in Chapter 2. We combine the key characteristics of these case studies with other features of probation work that we have discussed in other chapters. From this we build three ‘ideal types’ of probation worker, identifying their contribution to probation cultures. Finally, we consider the implications of our arguments for offender management and the future of probation work.