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Issues in Criminal Justice Case Management

NCJ Number
Alternatives to Incarceration Volume: 5 Issue: 3 Dated: May/June 1999 Pages: 7-10
Kerry M. Healey
Date Published
4 pages

The case management of offenders raises several difficult issues, such as how to provide continuing services to inmates returning to the community, how to use sanctions to maximize service participation while avoiding unnecessary incarceration, and how to measure program effectiveness.


Case managers face unique challenges in their efforts to sustain a consistent level of services while offenders pass through the criminal justice system and back into the community, to develop employment resources for offenders after their release, to prepare offenders to find and retain employment, and to resolve such problems as family reunification and drug abuse. The goal of case managers should be to minimize the likelihood of recidivism and the risk to society. Successfully reintegrating mentally disordered inmates and probationers into the community is especially challenging. In addition, case management of criminal justice populations is different from case management in other contexts because compliance with drug abuse treatment or other provisions of the offender's service plan may be a condition of probation/parole or part of a court-ordered diversion program. Sanctions can be used as a case management tool, and case manager expectations and attitudes are important in terms of offender outcomes. Categories of offenders who need case management are identified, the use of case management with drug-abusing offenders is discussed, and obstacles to case management are noted. 4 photographs