This relates to all those who are serving or have served a custodial sentence, with services being provided by Criminal Justice Social Work in the prison and on release. The service is designed to support the individual from the point of sentence until their supervision period is completed to aid their rehabilitation and reintegration back into the local community on release.
Prison Based Social Work
The prisoner is subject to the Integrated Case Management system, which develops a programme of support and intervention to reduce the risk of further offending. Prisoners are expected to complete offending behaviour programmes, consider employment, education or training needs, as well as issues of substance misuse or other factors which impact on offending behaviour. The programmes are reviewed on an annual basis at meetings to which the individual, their family and professionals are invited. The prisoner progresses through the Scottish Prison Service regime, with the aim of moving to a less restrictive prison, known as Open Prisons, as their sentence progresses. The social worker also prepares reports for the Parole Board to assess the risk posed by the prisoner and how these can be managed in the community, with the focus on assessing suitability for community release.
Community Based Social Work
The social worker is in contact with the prisoner and their family throughout the custodial term. The aim is to develop positive relationships with community services and resources to provide support prior to release. Once released the individual is required to meet regularly with their social worker and continue to undertake group or individual sessions to support reintegration and address the issues that resulted in the offending behaviour.
This is the social work service given to people who are imprisoned on short-term sentences of less than 4 years. Voluntary Throughcare starts when the person is sentenced to custody. It runs throughout their sentence and for a year after their release. As the name suggests the service is voluntary. The worker tries to motivate the client to focus on areas relevant to offending, by contacting all prisoners and asking them to contact him if they need help. The worker will visit all who respond and look at what assistance is required. The worker will also try to visit prisoners who have not responded, but time limits mean visits may be prioritised, with the focus on young prisoners, those with an addiction or other need, and female prisoners. Visits will be made throughout the sentence. The worker will engage or signpost the prisoner to other agencies. After release the worker will continue to work with the prisoner. This is very important in the days following release, especially for prisoners who need to arrange benefits, find accommodation and register at medical practices, as this can seem overwhelming and difficult.
Maintaining contact between the prisoner and their family is extremely important and key to promoting a non-offending lifestyle on release. There are several organisations that offer support to families: