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Case Management in the Criminal Justice System

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 1999
12 pages
Publication Series
The increasing use of case management of offenders is discussed in terms of its strategies and practices, the models used, the main issues that it entails, the types of offenders most suited for this approach, and obstacles to its use.
Case management is being used for arrestees, probationers, and parolees. Probation and parole officers are most likely to supervise offender case management. Today's criminal justice case management models link inmates returning to the community with drug treatment programs, mental health services, and social service agencies prior to their release. The main activities of criminal justice case management include engaging the client in the treatment process, assessing the client's needs, developing a service plan, linking the client with appropriate services, monitoring client progress, intervening with sanctions when necessary, and advocating for the client as needed. Case management in criminal justice requires the case manager to take on additional tasks beyond those assumed by traditional social service case workers. Thus, they are likely to provide informal guidance to their clients; some correctional case management programs consciously blur the broker and treatment roles and emphasize the need for cross-training between case managers and mental health providers, drug counselors, domestic assault program counselors, and other social service providers. Practitioners consider monitoring and graduated sanctions to be crucial to successful case management. Challenges in case management include how to provide continuous service to inmates returning to the community, how best to use sanctions, how to measure program effectiveness and developing employment resources for offenders. In addition, poorly designed programs and overburdened case managers can severely undermine the performance of such a program. Case examples and reference notes

Date Published: February 1, 1999