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Case Management inN ew South Wales Correctional Centres

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The file is considered a confidential, accurate record of the detainee's conduct and performance while in custody. The content of the file therefore determines how the detainee is processed by the system. Much of the available literature discusses case management within medical, paramedical or addiction treatment, or the "medical model" of case management.

7 The term 'prisons' is used in this part of the report as it is used in the literature. In the second half of the 18th century, Jeremy Bentham was concerned that prisoners in England were in a similar condition. Running the unit was the first attempt to really change the role of a police officer in the New South Wales prison system.

These things are still on the minds of prisoners and officers today and were mentioned by a number of the interviewees. Some indicated that they were more interested in the security aspect of the job than in business management. The introduction of case management probably had more of an impact on the role of the officer and their relationships with prisoners than any other policy decision.

Casual and 'off-the-record' comments from a number of officers in the current research reflect these findings.

Table  1:  Total number of persons  in  full-time custody as at June  1997
Table 1: Total number of persons in full-time custody as at June 1997

CASE MANAGEMENT TODAY

The NSW DCS Inmate Case Management Policy (1998c) describes the aims and objectives of the case management process. The crucial nature of the case officer's role in a case management environment is well understood and appreciated. At the beginning of the interviews, officers were asked a number of general questions about case management.

There does not appear to be consistency in the way the Case Management Commission deals with prisoners. A small number of officers said that other officers feel that case management is part of their job. Officers who do not want to do case management should be able to opt out.

Figure  1:  Basic  structure  of the  case  management  process  in  NSW  Correctional  Centres
Figure 1: Basic structure of the case management process in NSW Correctional Centres

UMMARY OF ALL

RESPONSES

The issue of less detailed case management for short-term inmates has been dealt with by the department. There are now two different case files, and thus case processing processes, in use: one for inmates serving more than 12 months, and one for inmates serving 12 months or less. Inmates said they would like to be able to keep the same case manager while at a center and that officers should be more available to properly conduct case management.

Officers said they need more time and resources to do the casework properly, that they should be able to choose to be a caseworker, rather than it being mandatory. They also said they needed to influence the inmates in their caseload.

KEY ISSUES AND

RECOMMENDATIONS ARISING FROM THE RESEARCH

In other words, case management management is not consistent and many practices have become sloppy. Case management as an integrated process appears to have largely failed in such institutions. The functioning of case management would be greatly improved if incarcerated persons were informed of this upon arrival at the centre.

Misinformation and lack of understanding will be minimized if inmates have a thorough introduction to case management. In some centers case management seems to work quite well, in others it does not seem to work at all. That is, they had all the "flags" of case management in place: case files in filing cabinets, case officers, and case managers.

The way the inmate management system works ensures that at least the most basic case management requirements are met. In other cases, case management seems to 'progress' without senior people really taking an interest. The importance of case management needs to be reinforced from the top down in all centres, with a commensurate commitment of resources and structures to support it.

Case management stands or falls at the point of service delivery, at the interface between the case officer and the inmate. However, as mentioned, the use of case management stands or falls at the point of service delivery – with officers and managers. Both inmates and officers commented that the requirement to change officers or inmates due to moving to another part of the same correctional center was a negative aspect of case management.

The appropriateness of the current structure of case management for long and short term prisoners was an issue raised by a number of officers and prisoners. This observation is confirmed by officers' responses to a number of questions related to their initial training for the introduction of case management. Officers' responses indicate that they felt they lacked basic skills and knowledge about case management processes and procedures.

IBLIOGRAPHY

Great Britain Home Office (1984) Management Structure in Prison Department Etablissements: Report of the Review Team to the Prison Board, http://www.dialogweb.com/cgi/dwclient?dw. New South Wales Department of Corrective Services (1998d) informationspapir om Serious Offenders Review Council. New South Wales Department of Corrective Services (1998e) Serious Offinders Review Councils årsrapport for året afsluttet 31. december 1996.

A brief description of the security classification process for male and female inmates is described below. The Serious Offenders Review Council (SORC) administers this last category of inmates, those serving 12 years or more. The different process used at MRRC has been implemented due to the high number of inmates they receive into custody.

11 Although the classification process remains the same, some of the tmms used in this document have changed, for example the Program Review Committee (PRC) is now called the Case Management Terun. Under general supervision and limited by a physical barrier unless accompanied by a cmTectional officer or other authorized person. Any prisoner who has escaped or attempted to escape is assigned an E1 or E2 classification depending on the circumstances of the event.

The information collected at Screening and Induction is very important and is entered into the file. The Reception and Placement Committee is tasked with screening, assessing and classifying all newly admitted inmates at MRRC. Some inmates may not need much in case processing, but all inmates have a case file.

Screening, evaluation and classification usually occurs on the third day after a prisoner has been sentenced. In other reception and induction centers, only short-term prisoners are treated. All others refer to the Case Management Team and then the Case Management Committee (CMC).

Table 3: Security classification categories for male inmates
Table 3: Security classification categories for male inmates

Figure

Table  1:  Total number of persons  in  full-time custody as at June  1997
Figure  1:  Basic  structure  of the  case  management  process  in  NSW  Correctional  Centres
Table 3: Security classification categories for male inmates

References

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