Officers (NAPO 2007) and Senior (2008) to compile books of recollections. Mair and Burke suggest that ‘a more considered response would have been to ask how it had come to this’ and they liken the service to a Cinderella who ‘never actually arrived at the ball’ (2012: 1). They also come to the pessimistic conclusion that while community sentences probably have some sort of future in criminal justice policy, this may well not be the case for the probation service. That it still exists after 100 years is something for which we should be grateful, they say, but ‘it has lost its roots, its traditions, its culture, its professionalism’ (2012: 192). It is the aim of this book to challenge this view and its narrative of decline. Our research suggests that, while working in a much changed world, probation workers retain a strong sense of all these things – possibly too strong for their own good. What Mair and Burke fail to give sufficient credit for is that 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’ (Probation Worker 31).