What is an Offender Manager?
An Offender Manager is someone who works for a Probation Trust. They are usually based in an office in the local area. Generally speaking the same Offender Manager should be responsible for the offender throughout the whole of their sentence whether the sentence is served in custody, in the community or a mixture of both. The Offender Manager is responsible for assessing an offender’s risks and needs, planning how their sentence should run or deciding upon necessary interventions (for example a programme that will help the offender to think and act in a different way). The Offender Manager will also look at how the offender progresses on their sentence making any adjustments as required if circumstances change.
Who has an Offender Manager?
Those people serving sentences in the community will have an Offender Manager.
People serving 12 months or more in custody may have an Offender Manager however this depends on the type of sentence being served. A prisoner will be told if they have an Offender Manager.
Prisoners serving an indeterminate sentence of Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) will have an Offender Manager in their home area.
Prisoners with Offender Managers will also have an Offender Supervisor based in the prison who will help to arrange some parts of the prisoner’s sentence plan. The Offender Supervisor will keep the Offender Manager informed of the prisoner’s progress and any difficulties they may be having.
What does an Offender Manager do?
- impose obligations and restrictions on the offender to fulfill sentencers’ requirements of punishment
- develop more responsible behaviour in the offender
- improve the offender’s attitudes so they become less anti-social
- help improve the offender’s social circumstances and links in the community
- manage risk presented by the offender so that the possibility of serious harm is reduced
- provide good value for money in the cost of organising and running the order
The Offender Manager will encourage the offender to think about the things in their life that led them to offend in the first place and that might lead them to re-offend. This may include addressing money or accommodation problems, tackling issues with drugs and/or alcohol or highlighting unhealthy relationships.
The Offender Manager will talk to the offender about what they might do to reduce their chances of re-offending. This might be learning a new skill that could help them find employment, getting specialist help with a problem (for example debt advice) or getting treatment for drug or alcohol dependency.
These things can then be built into an action plan for the offender to follow during their sentence.
It is up to the offender to stick to the plan and comply with all the expectations of their sentence in order to make the changes in their life that will reduce their risk of re-offending.
In Scotland the process for Offender Management is called Integrated Case Management (ICM).
The process was developed by the Scottish Prison Service and is focused on helping offenders deal with any problems in order to break the cycle of re-offending. The ICM system is charged with assisting prisoners as they assess their attitudes and behaviours that led them to offend. Participation in the process is voluntary and the offender is under no obligation to join the system.
Core Screen Interview
The ICM process usually begins with a Core Screen Interview. Soon after being sent to prison, the offender will meet with a prison officer and complete an interview. It is a chance for the offender to discuss their issues and the needs they have, for instance: drug problems, housing issues, training or education requirements, mental illness etc.
Standard ICM or Enhanced ICM?
After this interview the offender will be informed whether they will be placed on “standard ICM” or the “enhanced ICM” route.
The “standard ICM” is for offenders serving less than four years and who won’t require Statutory Supervision by social work involvement outside of prison. The “enhanced ICM route” is for offenders serving over four years in prison or who are subject to statutory supervision and who will require social work involvement upon release. Offenders on either “route” are supported by prison staff throughout the process and will be assisted in communicating the process to their loved ones. However, if the offender is on the “enhanced ICM route”, loved ones can expect to be contacted by a Community Based Social Worker (CBSW) in order that the family can work together to support the prisoner throughout the process.
The next stage in the process is a case conference. If you are in touch with a CBSW they will be able to guide you through what this entails. The usual proceedings are that a group of people involved with offender gather to discuss the offender’s plan for the year and how support can be given. Alongside the offender, people who usually attend a case conference are: the ICM case coordinator, a family member or close friend, a social worker and the prisoner’s personal or supervising officer. Case conferences will be held once a year, with the last one taking place around three months before the offender’s release date. If you as a family member or friend are experiencing financial difficulties and wish to attend your loved one’s case conference, help may be available to you. Please visit our Cost of Prison Visits page for more information.
ICM’s are a good way for an offender to plan for their time in prison and to receive support during their rehabilitation. If the offender is eligible for a Home Detention Curfew Order (HDC), participating in the ICM process can speak well of an offender’s intent to rehabilitate themselves and re-join society in a productive manner.