Professor Raynor worked as a probation officer until 1975, and much of his research has concerned the evidence base for effective probation practice. He has also carried out research on victims of crime (for Victim Support, of which he was a founder member and Chair of its Research Committee 1982-7), drug and alcohol services (for the Alcohol Education and Research Council, the Home Office and the Youth Justice Board), young offenders (for the Children’s Society), social work education (for CCETSW), unemployed young people (for ESRC), intensive probation, and the relationship between rehabilitation and justice (both supported by the Nuffield Foundation) and a range of other criminal justice topics (for the National Probation Service, the States of Jersey and others). A series of Home Office funded studies since the early 1990s has included work on the quality and effectiveness of pre-sentence reports; a pilot of a cognitive-behavioural programme for offenders; the confirmation of probation officers in appointment; risk and need assessment in correctional services; the resettlement of medium-term and short-sentence prisoners, and the needs and experiences of Black, Asian and other minority ethnic probationers. He has also worked on the development of prisoner resettlement services for the Romanian Ministry of Justice.
He has produced more than two hundred publications. He was a panel member for Social Policy and Administration and Social Work in the 1996 and 2001 Research Assessment Exercises, and served as a member of the has served as a member of the Correctional Services Accreditation and Advisory Panel for England and Wales since 1999, and the Community Justice Accreditation Panel for Scotland from 2003-5. He has also represented the Welsh Assembly Government on the NOMS Stakeholder Forum, and has been a member of Scotland’s National Advisory Body on Offender Management and of the National Criminal Justice Forum for Wales. In 2013 he was awarded the status of Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.
In October 2016, at the General Assembly of the Confederation of European Probation (CEP) in Bucharest, Professor Raynor was presented with the CEP’s inaugural Award for Research in recognition of his work on the Jersey Supervision Skills Study.