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Correctional Case Management
Created by Sunshine Richards Aug. 14, 2019
Community College / Lower Division
Criminal Justice
This OER Textbook was developed for use in conjunction with introductory level correctional case
management courses. It provides an overview into the major aspects of correctional case management, in
both institutional and community settings.
Classify case manager roles in various correctional settings
Analyze case management strategies and assessment instruments
Categorize the theories of behavior
Describe the role of case managers in corrections
Unit 1 Role of the Case Manager
The role of the case manager in corrections can vary depending on the environment in which they work.
However, some basic aspects are fairly consistent across environments. In general, case managers in
corrections are charged with handling offender reports, overseeing offender rehabilitation, and collaborating
with other individuals and agencies to accommodate offender supervision and success.
We saw the rise in a focus on offender rehabilitation in during the social reform movement of the 1970’s [1] .
During this time, we also saw more offenders sentenced to community supervision and returning to the
community from incarceration. As a result, we saw an increased need for case managers to coordinate
offender access to the counseling and treatment needed to ensure their increased chance for success in the
Case management during incarceration is also important, helping to set offenders up for success upon
release. Case managers in a prison setting work closely with community agencies to help identify
employment, housing, and educational resources for offenders preparing for release.
Offender Reports
There are a variety of reports necessary to ensure the appropriate classification and supervision of offenders.
The reports a correctional case manager handles depends on their role within the correctional system.
In Community Corrections, a case manager will be responsible for one or more of the following:
Pre-Sentence Investigation Report (PSI or PSI-R)
The PSI serves to provide background on an offender and his/her offenses. It is developed by the probation
officer through interviews with law enforcement, victims, offenders, offenders’ families. Based on the
information obtained, the probation officer assembles a PSI outlining the offender’s background, including
risks and protective factors.
Correctional case managers working in probation offices assemble ​ Pre-Sentence Investigation reports (PSI
or PSI-R). By collecting ​ information from sources like medical records, criminal records, and ​ offender
interview, case managers assemble a PSI that provides a ​ thorough look at an offender’s history. The report
is generally broken ​ down into four major sections:
A. ​ The Offense (including offense description, offender statement, victim ​ statement)​
B. ​ The Offender’s Criminal History (juvenile and adult)​
C. ​ The Offender’s Characteristics (family information, mental health, ​ education, work, etc.)​
D. ​ Sentencing Options and Recommendations
Take a look at PSI forms and instructions from the Kansas Sentencing Commission [2] below:
Download: KS_PSI_Complete.pdf
Download: KS_PSI_Instructions.pdf
Sentencing Worksheet
The sentencing worksheet assists the probation officer in assembling the PSI and making a sentencing
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recommendation to the judge. Generally, these worksheets collect offense and adjudication history
information, assigning a score to each until a total score is established. That total score is then used to
identify a sentence recommendation.
Take a look at the worksheet and guidelines below from the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission [3]
Download: VA_Sentencing_Worksheet.pdf
Download: VA__Sentencing_Guidelines.pdf
Case History Report
Similar to the PSI, a case history report requires case managers to ​ collect information from a variety of
sources. The case history provides ​ a thorough look at the offender’s life and allows case managers to make ​
better program recommendations specific to offender risks and needs.
Client Management Classification Assessment
Risk/Needs Assessment
In a Prison setting, a case manager will be responsible for one or more of the following:
Security Assessment
Good Time Earning Assessment
Risk/Needs Assessment
Offender reports may be utilized by the case managers developing them, ​ as well as judges in determining
sentences and other correctional staff ​ in carrying out their duties. However, the reports are largely used in ​
identifying offender risks and needs so appropriate services can be ​ provided in an attempt to reduce
recidivism among offenders. Case plans ​ are developed from offender assessment and a review of all
available ​ offender reports and information.​
​ While the case planning process may vary from agency to agency, the ​ steps should follow the same basic
order. The link below provides a ​ visual model of case planning steps as recommended by The Carey
Group. [4]
Case Planning Steps
Offender Programming
The first concern of any correctional agency is the safety and security ​ of the facility and community. Case
managers play a key role in ensuring ​ safety and security through identifying offender custody or supervision
​ levels. While the tools used to determine these levels may vary, most ​ are based on key factors that have
been identified as having an impact ​ on offender risks.​ ​ ​ For example, research suggests that as offenders
age, their offending ​ declines. Therefore, older offenders pose less of a risk.​ ​ ​ A history of escape or
absconding in the past is a strong predictor of ​ an offender’s willingness to attempt escape in the future.
Therefore, a ​ history of escape indicates a high risk.​ ​ ​ The following file provides an example of an
assessment instrument used ​ in juvenile justice.
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Custody Level
​ In the secure setting, case managers will determine inmate custody level ​ based on risk assessments. While
the LSI-R may be used in some ​ facilities, most departments of correction utilize their own security ​
assessment tools to determine custody level. This level determines which ​ facilities are appropriate to house
the offender.​
​ Initial custody level classifications are conducted when an offender is ​ received into the department of
corrections. Most states utilize a ​ designated prison facility as the intake facility where all inmates are ​
initially classified.​
​ Additional custody level classifications occur at regular intervals, ​ usually every 120 days or annually on the
anniversary of the inmate’s ​ intake into the prison system. Unscheduled custody level classifications ​ may
also occur as a result of offender disciplinary charges or other ​ triggering events.​
​ Based on the scores obtained from the custody level classification ​ assessment, inmates are assigned to one
of the following custody levels:​
​ Special Management: An “offender who, because of either a short-term ​ or long-term condition
surrounding his/her incarceration, requires ​ segregation from the general population.”​
​ Maximum: An inmate “whose movement and activities within [the] ​ facility are highly structured and
closely monitored.”​
​ Medium High: An inmate whose “activities and movements are moderately ​ controlled and
​ Medium Low: An inmate whose “activities and movements are moderately ​ controlled and
​ Minimum: “An inmate who is appropriate for housing at any level of ​ security, with minimum security
preferred” [5] .​
​ Note that case managers may recommend a higher or lower custody level ​ than determined by the
assessment if extenuating circumstances justify ​ it.​
Supervision Level
​ In community corrections, offender supervision levels are usually ​ determined by the Level of Service
Inventory-Revised (LSI-R) or a ​ similar assessment instrument. The LSI-R will recommend one of the ​
following supervision levels based on the static and dynamic risk ​ factors identified in the assessment:​
​ Minimum: requires little formal reporting and probation/parole officer ​ contact​
​ Standard: requires offenders to report to a probation/parole officer ​ on a regular basis, whether in
person or by phone​
​ Intensive: requires stringent offender supervision and contact, ​ usually along with multiple other
Additional Risk Assessment Instruments
​ Correctional Assessment and Intervention System (CAIS)​
​ Correctional Offender Management Profile for Alternative Sanctions ​ (COMPAS)​
​ Offender Screening Tool (OST)​
​ Ohio Risk Assessment System (ORAS)​
​ Static Risk and Offender Needs Guide (STRONG)
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​ The second concern of a case manager, subsequent to the safety and ​ security of the facility and
community, is the rehabilitation of ​ offenders. Case managers identify offender treatment needs through
needs ​ assessments. This may be done in conjunction with or subsequent to risk ​ assessment. While
treatment needs may be identified solely based on ​ offender reports and interviews, there are tools that case
managers or ​ other treatment staff (psychiatrist, psychologist, doctor) may utilize ​ to identify offender issues.
It is a good idea for case managers to be ​ familiar with these tools.​
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) ​ provides diagnostic criteria, allowing
for appropriate treatment ​ planning. The DSM-5 is used by qualified mental health professionals to ​ diagnose
mental disorders. You can visit DSM-V ​ for more information.​
Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) ​ assess clinical disorders on ten different scales:​
​ Hypochondriasis​
​ Paranoia​
​ Depression​
​ Psychastenia​
​ Hysteria​
​ Schizophrenia​
​ Psychopathic deviate​
​ Hypomania​
​ Masculinity femininity​
​ Social introversion​
Addiction Severity Index (ASI) is the most widely used ​ substance abuse assessment instrument.​
Beck Depression Inventory-II is one of the more popular ​ tools used to screen for depression.
Case Planning to Address Treatment Needs
​ Case managers will develop treatment or case plans based on risk/needs ​ assessments, custody level
assessments, and other sources of ​ information. Based on those case plans, case managers will make ​
referrals to programs or services. Case managers make regular updates to ​ case plans noting offender
progress or developments.​
​ Substance Abuse Treatment Programs​
​ Anger Management​
​ Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous​
​ Thinking For a Change (T4C)​
​ Mental Health Counseling​
​ Life Skills
​ Research shows that inmates who obtain their GED, vocational training, ​ or even just one college class while
incarcerated demonstrate ​ significantly lower levels of recidivism than overall averages [6] . As a result,
departments of correction offer a variety of GED, ​ vocational and college course programs, as well as job
readiness classes.​
​ Case managers should review offender education history and vocational ​ interests to determine program
Offender Work Assignments
​ Inmates without occupation pose a greater security risk than those participating in treatment programs and
work assignments. Providing offenders with the opportunity to work during incarceration not only allows
them to develop employability skills, but also reduces behavioral issues [7] .
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Offenders have the opportunity to engage in a variety of work ​ assignments during incarceration.
Participation in these work ​ assignments “are designed to develop, maintain, and/or improve ​ vocational
skills, work habits, self-confidence and other job related ​ attitudes” [8] . Offenders may ​ be paid for these
work assignments ranging from $.50 to $1.50 per day.
Case managers must consider a variety of information when determining ​ inmate work assignments. The
primary consideration is offender risk and ​ custody level. Some minimum security facilities provide offenders
for ​ work programs outside the gate, often on road crews picking up trash on ​ roadsides. Some state
departments of transportation (DOT) utilize these ​ road crews to supplement DOT staff. While offenders are
supervised under ​ armed guard while working outside the gate, it is imperative that case ​ managers properly
screen offenders for appropriateness for such work ​ assignments. For example, an inmate may be classified
as a minimum ​ custody offender, but have a history of absconding or kidnapping. This ​ type of offender is not
appropriate for any work assignment allowing ​ them to leave the secure confines of the prison facility.​
Case managers should also consider offender treatment needs when ​ possible. For example, an inmate with
poor social skills and low ​ frustration tolerance may be assigned to a solitary job like janitorial ​ work while he
attends programming to help him develop social and coping ​ skills. Later, he can be assigned to a job that
allows him to practice ​ his newly learned skills in a position that requires teamwork and ​ communication, like
many prison industries positions.
Other offender work assignments include building maintenance, food ​ services, sanitation, or prison
industries. These work assignments are ​ supervised by expert staff that not only oversee inmate work, but
also ​ help develop inmate skills and competence. For example, food services ​ are overseen by a kitchen
supervisor trained in nutrition and ServSafe ​ certified. They set the menus and supervise kitchen activities,
but ​ inmates serving on the food services crew do the actual cooking and ​ serving of food.​
By utilizing an inmate workforce, facilities not only save on labor ​ costs to fun the facility, but also contribute
to a reduction in ​ recidivism rates by providing rehabilitation and skilled training for ​ inmates to better
prepare them for employment upon release. For many ​ inmates, this may be their first work experience,
allowing them to learn ​ valuable job skills.
​ Offenders approaching their release date should be considered for ​ programs that will assist in a successful
reentry. Programs may include:​
​ Tenant Responsibility classes​
​ Financial classes​
​ Parenting classes​
​ Productive citizenship​
Case managers should also begin to develop reentry and home plans with ​ offenders, linking them to
services and resources in their communities ​ upon reentry.
According to a report published by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, ​ more than 65% of inmates released from
prison were rearrested within ​ three years and more than 75% were rearrested within five years [9] . These
numbers demonstrate the need for ​ appropriate case management, treatment, and reentry planning.
​ Some of the issues facing offenders returning to the community that ​ contribute to recidivism include lack of
employment, adequate housing, ​ access to medication and treatment services, and a return to criminal ​
social circles. Through effective case planning at intake through to ​ release, case managers can assist
offenders in successful reentry. The ​ development of an official release plan generally begins within 12-24 ​
months of the offender’s anticipated release date.​
​ Planning for offender employment begins at intake when we determine ​ education levels and job readiness
skills. Offenders with a GED will be ​ in a better position to obtain employment than those without. Job ​
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readiness skills will help offenders maintain that employment. Most ​ employers are reluctant to hire
applicants with a criminal record. Case ​ managers should develop contacts with employers willing to hire
felons ​ so they can help offenders submit applications and prepare for ​ interviews immediately upon release.
Case managers can also accommodate ​ interaction between the offender applicant and the hiring manager,
as ​ research indicates that this interaction improves chances for employment [10] .​
​ ​
​ Listen to this podcast presented by DC Public Safety on the topic of Offender Reentry and Employment.​
​ Inmates preparing for release on parole are often required to have an ​ approved home plan to demonstrate
where they plan to live upon release. ​ Many of these inmates will struggle to identify appropriate housing. ​
Case managers will then assist offenders with identifying alternative ​ housing options.​
Medication and Treatment
​ Mental illness impacts more than half of all prison inmates [11] . Many of these offenders require access to
medication and ​ ongoing treatment to avoid a recurrence of symptoms that may contribute ​ to reoffending.
Offenders with severe mental illness or those that lack ​ the access to services struggle significantly with this
​ Case managers should be aware of offender treatment and medication needs ​ to establish an appropriate
plan for continued support in the community. ​ Offenders are also generally released with a 30, 60, or 90 day
supply of ​ required medication to accommodate a period of adjustment while ​ obtaining services in the
Social Support Systems
​ Humans are social creatures heavily influenced by our environments and ​ social circles. Offenders who
return to associating with criminal peers ​ are at significantly higher risk of reoffending. Programs available to ​
mitigate that risk include mentoring and counseling programs.​
Programs like Mentoring 4 Success utilizes trained mentors to support ​ the work of correctional case
managers in preparing offenders for ​ release. They begin working with offenders six to 12 months prior to ​
release, helping offenders identify and establish prosocial activities ​ and engage with their communities [12] .
Offender Rehabilitation
Recommended Program Assignments
​ The reports above provide correctional case managers and others valuable ​ insights into offender risks and
needs. Based on these reports, case ​ managers create a case plan with program recommendations for
offenders ​ on their caseloads. Some of the most common program assignments for ​ offenders include​
​ Anger management​
​ Substance abuse​
​ Education (GED, vocational training, college classes)​
​ Mental health counseling​
​ Life and social skills​
​ Thinking for a Change classes​
​ Job Readiness classes​
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​ Tenant Responsibility classes​
Other Uses
​ Offender reports may also be used by case managers in determining ​ offender custody level/supervision
level and good time earning levels. ​ They may also be used to determine appropriate work assignments for ​
offenders during incarceration or in assisting community offenders in ​ obtaining employment and services.
Connecting With Community Agencies
​ Case managers, whether working in a secure facility or in the community, ​ need to be adept at establishing
collaborative relationships with other ​ professionals and agencies. Case managers serve as the link between
the ​ offender and community services. The more agencies and resources a case ​ manager has access to, the
more effective they will be in delivering ​ case plans that reduce offender recidivism.​
​ Case managers should begin establishing a list of felon-friendly ​ employers. This list should include local
employers for community ​ corrections and employers throughout the state for institutional ​ corrections. Once
this list is established, case managers should reach ​ out to employers to build a relationship for future
referrals. The ​ stronger the relationship, the more likely employers will contact you ​ with job openings for
offenders on your caseload.​
​ Additional databases should include the extent and array of community ​ resources, including mental health
and treatment resources. The quality ​ and accessibility of services should also be monitored while building ​
relationship with those agencies.​
​ While technology now allows access to information without in-person ​ contacts, making that human
connection can put you at an advantage when ​ competing for access to limited community resources.
Utilizing Volunteers
​ Community agencies and individual volunteers can provide programs to ​ address offender needs. Case
managers identify and screen appropriate ​ volunteers/programs and accommodate program implementation.​
​ Some volunteer-based programs that are utilized in prisons include​
​ Alcoholics Anonymous/Narcotics Anonymous​
​ Church Groups​
​ Dog Programs​
​ Employability Skills (often presented by local employers)​
​ Veteran’s Benefits (presented by local Veteran’s Administration ​ employees)​
Watch the following videos for examples of how these programs can ​ benefit offender rehabilitation.
Fostering an Effective Team
​ Case managers must also be prepared to foster an atmosphere of ​ cooperation and commonality among
other correctional staff and outside ​ agencies providing services for offenders.​
​ Case managers are often the leaders of an offender’s treatment team, ​ guiding the focus and
implementation of the case plan. Strong ​ communication skills and assertive leadership skills
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​ in the case manager are necessary in order for
the team to be effective.​
​ It is up to the case manager to ensure that members of the treatment ​ team feel valued for their input. By
establishing a basis of respect for ​ diverse opinions, case managers can get the most out of their teams.​
​ Each person involved in a treatment team is an expert in his or her ​ field. Security staff, medical staff,
recreation supervisors, community ​ agency representatives, work assignment supervisors all serve a
valuable ​ role in the rehabilitation of the offender and it is important for case ​ managers to value that
expertise in the development of a more creative ​ and thorough case plan.
Unit 2 Theories of Behavior
Need for Theory
Case managers in correctional environments provide guidance and ​ counseling to offenders on their
caseloads. That counseling may be ​ individual or group, directive or nondirective. In this lesson, we will ​ look
more closely at various correctional counseling approaches.​
​ Nondirective Counseling involves the counselor assisting the individual ​ in finding solutions to their issues.
The idea is that counselors avoid ​ telling individual what issues they need to change and, rather, ​ passively
allow the individual to arrive at change on their own. It ​ often involves long term discussion of emotions and
their origins, often ​ dating back to early childhood.​
​ Because offenders are rarely able to identify solutions to their issues ​ on their own, Directive Counseling is
far more effective in the ​ correctional environment. This approach focuses less on emotion and more ​ on
maladaptive thought processes. Counselors play an active role in ​ identifying offender issues, finding
solutions to those issues, and ​ guiding offenders to those solutions. The theories that we will look at ​ in more
detail are considered directive forms of counseling and are most ​ used in corrections.
Reality Therapy
​ One of the key characteristics we see among offenders is a failure to ​ take responsibility for their behavior.
They may rationalize or blame ​ their victims. Reality therapy’s goal is for the offender to learn ​ responsible
behavior by learning “who they are, how to interact with ​ others in a responsible fashion, and how they can
be accepted more fully ​ by others” [13] .​
Transactional Analysis
Transactional Analysis (TA) focuses on exploring and explaining ​ interactions between the offender and
others. This analysis allows the ​ offender to identify and change problem interactions. One of the basic ​
concepts in the TA approach is the idea of scripts that we develop in ​ early childhood. These scripts help us
process the world around us. When ​ these scripts are negative, as a result of being told we are bad ​
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throughout our childhood, then our interactions later on will be ​ negative. In order to change negative
interactions, individuals need to ​ change negative scripts.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
​ One of the most popular counseling approaches in corrections today is ​ Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
This approach combines cognitive and ​ behavioral approaches, with the largest focus being on changing ​
maladaptive thought processes (cognitions). With CBT, the counselor ​ helps the offender identify negative or
maladaptive thoughts, test them ​ for accuracy, and reframe them into more positive, realistic thoughts.​
Therapeutic Community in Prison
Our prisons represent microcommunities within our larger society. They ​ function under separate rules, but
there are still social interactions ​ and daily activities that can influence offender behavior even beyond ​ their
time incarcerated. The lasting impact of the prison environment is ​ termed institutionalization. In the late
1970’s, Dr. Phillip Zimbardo ​ studied the power of situation on human behavior and emotion. He found ​ that,
even in as little as a few days, individuals can become ​ institutionalized and take on negative behaviors
based on the labels ​ applied to them [14] .
A Therapeutic Community (TC) is a treatment approach designed around a ​ creating a prosocial environment
inside of prison that holds offenders ​ to specific behavioral standards. TCs are organized in stages or phases ​
of change that inmates move through during their incarceration at the ​ given facility. As inmates move
through the phases, or phase up, they ​ begin to internalize the ideas and values they are learning within the ​
​ On a more specific level is the Substance Abuse Therapeutic Community ​ (SATC) that is focused on treating
substance abuse issues. Virginia will ​ often state-mandate offenders charged with substance-related
offenses to ​ finish the last 18-24 months of their sentence within a SATC facility. ​ That mandate means that if
the offender refuses to participate in the ​ program, we can take away all of their good time and increase
their ​ security level, transferring them to a higher security facility. This ​ leads to high rates of compliance.
One key to the SATC approach is that ​ initial buy-in or desire for change by the inmate is not necessary. In ​
phase one of the program, they are simply learning and complying with ​ the rules. It is not until phase four
that they begin to experience an ​ internal motivation for change [15] .​
​ TCs have traditionally been used to address substance abuse almost ​ exclusively. However, Dr. Harry
Wexler suggests that this model may be ​ used effectively with violent offenders in higher security levels, ​
perhaps even maximum security facilities. This is still relatively new ​ research, but initial research is
promising [16] .​
​ A key to successfully operating a TC prison facility is staff buy-in. ​ Security and treatment staff must work
together in responding to inmate ​ behavior. For example, when an offender violates a rule, standard prison ​
policy is clear that the offender should be charged and given the ​ corresponding punishment. However, in a
TC facility, the offender may ​ instead be given a Learning Experience (LE), which is developed by ​ treatment
and security staff. An LE may involve the offender researching ​ and developing a seminar that they must
present to other offenders in ​ their community, performing community service, and presenting a written ​
apology to staff. In this way, the offender processes a change in their ​ behavior at a deeper cognitive level.
This can be challenging for ​ correctional officers new to such an approach.​
Sociological Theory
According to Siegel (2013), sociological theories “suggest that social and economic forces affect people when
they are ​ relatively young and continue to influence them throughout their lives” [17] . So, sociological
theories of crime seek to identify what influence society has on individual ​ behavior. Crime data
demonstrates significant support for the idea that ​ poverty and social disorder are strongly linked to high
crime rates.
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“No act is inherently deviant in and of itself. Deviance is defined ​ socially and will vary from one
group to another.” – Emile Durkheim, The ​ Rules of Sociological Method
Social Disorganization Theory
​ Social disorganization theory points to a breakdown in community ​ institutions (schools, businesses,
churches) as a key contributor to ​ criminal behavior. Youth begin to feel detached from their community and ​
become easy targets for gang recruitment. The deviant values of gangs ​ and other criminals in the
neighborhood replace conventional values and ​ norms that would inhibit criminal behavior.​
Strain Theory
​ The Great American Dream promises a nice home, car, money to anyone ​ willing to work hard enough.
Strain theory, however, suggests some ​ experience limited channels to achieve that success. They begin to ​
experience strain and resentment that leads them to engage in criminal ​ behavior.​
Cultural Deviance Theory
​ Combining the concepts of social disorganization theory and strain ​ theory are cultural deviance theories.
These theories suggest that ​ subcultures develop in deteriorated neighborhoods. These subcultures ​ have
their own set of norms and values, stressing toughness, risk ​ taking, immediate gratification, and street
smarts. Gangs and criminal ​ groups dominate these neighborhoods silencing the law-abiding majority.​
Differential Association Theory
​ As social beings, we are susceptible to social pressures, particularly ​ during adolescence when our identities
are still being formed. We seek to ​ conform with our environments. Thus, those raised in environments that ​
favor law violating behavior will learn to conform to criminal behavior. ​ This theory has a significant
application in community corrections where ​ we may limit the groups probationers and parolees may
associate with.​
Control Theory
​ Rather than focusing on causes of criminal behavior, as the theories ​ above, control theory focuses on
conditions that restrain from it. This ​ theory identifies four controls that are present in the environment of ​
noncriminals and not present in the environment of criminals:​
1. Attachment refers to one’s emotional closeness to ​ others​
2. Commitment is investment in the pursuit of a lawful ​ career lifestyle​
3. Involvement refers to time invested in lawful ​ activities​
4. Belief is the acceptance of social expectations and ​ values
Psychological Theory
Psychological theories of crime look at how intelligence, personality, ​ and learning are linked to criminal
Psychodynamic Theory
​ Despite his many questionable habits and theories, Freud’s Psychodynamic ​ Theory continues to provide
insights into human behavior. The basic ​ model of this theory suggests that the human personality is made
up of ​ three basic structures.​
​ ​
​ Freud’s Model of Personality Structure​
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​ Id​
​ operates off of the pleasure principle, demanding immediate ​ gratification​
​ ​
​ Ego​
​ helps balance the demands of the id through the application of the ​ reality principle​
​ ​
​ Superego​ ​ the conscience that guides our morals and leads us to experience ​ guilt​
​ ​
Many offenders demonstrate id-driven behaviors. A common correctional ​ concept applied to offenders is “I
want what I want when I want it.” ​ Many offenders have simply never learned to delay gratification and may ​
not see any benefit in doing so. A goal of corrections, then, may be to ​ help the offender develop a stronger
ego and superego to control the id.
Behavioral Theory
Behavioral theory suggests, quite simply, that behavior is learned. We ​ alter our behavior based on the
perceived responses from others. Those ​ responses take the form of rewards and punishments. Simply put, ​
behaviors are reinforced through positive responses that serve as ​ rewards and other behaviors are
extinguished through negative responses ​ that serve as punishments.
Cognitive Theory
​ Cognitions refer to our thought processes. Cognitive theory looks at how ​ individuals think and perceive the
world around them. Issues with ​ cognitive development can lead to errors in perception. Cognitive errors ​ (or
distortions) are often used to explain sex offenses involving ​ children. For example, the offender perceives
the child as a sexual ​ being willingly engaging in sexual activity or that the sexual activity ​ doesn’t cause
harm to the child [18] .​
Understanding cognitive errors can help drive case planning and ​ interventions to address those errors.
Biosocial Theory
According to Siegel (2013), biosocial theories suggest that “physical, environmental, and social conditions
work in ​ concert to produce human behavior” [19] .
Some of the earliest theories of criminal behavior focused on physical ​ or biological characteristics of
offenders. Cesare Lombroso theorized ​ that criminals possess certain physical characteristics that can be
used ​ to identify them. Beginning in the early 20 th century, ​ however, researchers began to move away from
this unsubstantiated ​ approach to explaining criminal behavior and began to focus more on ​ social factors.
This focus gave way to many sociological theories of ​ crime.
​ Today, however, biosocial theories are becoming increasingly popular as we seek to explain how ​ physical
and environmental factors interact to influence human behavior. ​ Why do individuals exposed to the same
environmental stressors behave ​ differently? Why do individuals with the same genetic makeup take ​
different paths? What can we learn from twins separate at birth or ​ children who grow up in adoptive homes?
We recognize that while our ​ genetics do not necessarily predict criminal tendencies, they can ​ establish a
predisposition to certain behaviors that should not be ​ ignored.
Biochemical Conditions
​ Hormonal imbalances may influence violent and aggressive behavior. For ​ example, research points to
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abnormally high levels of testosterone in ​ men who commit violent crimes [20] .​
Neuropsychological Issues
Neurological issues relate to abnormalities in brain functioning. These ​ abnormalities have been linked to
abnormal behavior patterns and ​ antisocial acts. Abnormalities in brain chemistry has been linked to ​ criminal
behaviors. For example, research has found evidence linking ​ abnormal levels of dopamine with high levels
of predatory aggressive ​ behavior. Serotonin, the brain chemical commonly associated with ​ depression, has
also been linked to poor impulse control and ​ hyperactivity [21] . Schizophrenia is often treated by ​
medications that block dopamine receptors in the brain and ADHD is ​ strongly linked to dopamine and
norepinephrine imbalances.
Understanding the impact of brain chemical imbalances allows us more ​ treatment options to controle
symptoms and reduce negative behaviors in ​ criminal populations. ​
Damage to the brain can also impact behavior. Research demonstrates that ​ lesions to the prefrontal cortex
is associated impulsive crimes. This ​ damage may be due to traumatic injury, maternal substance abuse
during ​ pregnancy, or genetic factors [22] .
Genetics and Crime
​ In recent years, researchers have begun to focus on genetic ​ predispositions to criminal behavior. This
research focuses on twin and ​ adoption studies, utilizing differences in environmental influences to ​ establish
correlations between genetics and behavior. The findings are ​ still quite controversial, continuing the debate
of nature versus ​ nurture. Are our behaviors and personalities determined by genetics ​ (nature) or our
environment and socialization (nurture)?​
Twin Studies
Researchers comparing the behavior of identical twins with fraternal ​ twins have found a “significant
relationship between the criminal ​ activities of [identical] twins and a much lower association between ​ those
of [fraternal] twins” [23] . However, these ​ studies are criticized by some researchers for inadequate research ​
design. Critics also point to the presence of other environmental ​ factors that may be contributing to the
similarity in behavior.
Adoption Studies
​ Adoption studies provide the opportunity to investigate genetic ​ influence outside of similar environments.
Cohen and Machalek (1988) ​ found that genetic factors accounted for criminal behaviors in 59% of ​ adopted
children [24] .​
​ When studying genetics and behavior, it is important to keep in mind ​ that no research has suggested that
genetics alone account for criminal ​ behavior. Most reserachers agree that genetics may create a ​
predisposition toward certain behaviors while environment allows that ​ predisposition to be developed.​
“Genetics loads the gun; environment pulls the trigger.” – Dr. ​ Francis Collins, former director of
the National Institutes of Health
Arousal Theory
Do you love roller coasters? Does the thought of one terrify you? Our ​ brains respond differently to
environmental influences. Human beings ​ seek to maintain an optimal level of arousal of our autonomic
nervous ​ system with some people requiring levels of stimulation and others ​ requiring very little. We often
refer to those that require high levels ​ of stimulation to obtain optimal arousal as thrill seekers or sensation ​
seekers. Most of these individuals find prosocial means of triggering ​ arousal, through activities like sky
diving, for example. However, some ​ individuals may engage in criminal behavior for the thrill of “getting ​
away with it.”
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Unit 3 Case Management Strategies
Interview and Assessment
Interviewing Offenders
Offenders, regardless of setting, present a variety of characteristics that​ correctional case managers should
be prepared to handle. They are often​ resistant to treatment or deceptive during interviews. They may
present as​ cooperative in an attempt to manipulate correctional staff. Or they may have a​ sincere interest in
rehabilitation and change. Case managers should be aware of​ the various offender motivations and methods
of interviewing.
Establishing Rapport
Establishing open communication and a certain level of trust is important to​ gain accurate and honest
information during interview. However, this rapport​ must be balanced with appropriate offender-case
manager boundaries. During​ initial interviews, case managers should be clear and forthcoming about limits​
to confidentiality and use of information revealed by the offender. ​ ​ Case managers should keep in mind that
they often are in a position of power​ over offenders and that will impact an offender’s willingness to
communicate​ freely with the case manager. Enos and Southern (1996) refer to this as​ coercive power and
suggest several steps to neutralizing its impact [25] .​ Acknowledge that the offender probably doesn’t want to
be there. Offer options​ on how the interview can be conducted (answer a set of questions or provide​
background information in a more conversational manner). Discuss the limits of​ confidentiality in the
correctional setting.
Addressing Confidentiality
Offenders are generally aware that their history and​ records do not fall under the same level of protection as
private citizens​ protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).​ Confidentiality,
even in regards to counseling, is not guaranteed for​ offenders.
Gathering Data
While correctional case managers may be at a​ disadvantage given the animosity offenders may feel about
confiding personal​ information, there are advantages in regards to access to records. Case​ managers may
choose to review offender records, including Pre-Sentence​ Investigation Reports, rap sheets, treatment and
educational records, and​ institutional records, prior to interviewing offenders. This information often​ provides
an overall picture of the offender which gives the case manager a​ starting point for establishing rapport and
identifying needed information.
Motivational Interviewing
Motivational Interviewing (MI) is an approach​ developed in the 1980s to help establish more buy-in from the
individual in​ question. MI utilizes an approach that links the offender’s need for change to​ something they
care about. By focusing on that aspect, the case manager​ collaborates with the offender rather than
confronting them. This establishes​ more offender buy-in and leads to greater success in treatment and
rehabilitation​ efforts.
Assessment of Offenders
Case managers conduct​ assessments at intake and routinely during an offender’s incarceration or​
supervision. In general, assessments are conducted at three specific times: at​ intake, annually on the
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anniversary of intake, and as needed to update plans or​ address disciplinary issues.
Security Assessments
Security or supervision assessments, guide the case​ manager in determining the appropriate
security/custody level (in the case of​ jail or prison) or supervision level (in the case of community corrections)
of​ the offender. Each state or local agency utilizes its own assessment tool to​ determine security/supervision
level. ​ ​ The Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC) utilizes an​ objective scoring system to classify
inmates, following the KDOC Inmate Custody​ Classification Manual. Based on the score obtained, case
managers will assign​ the inmate to the appropriate custody level.​ ​ KDOC Parole Services utilize the Level of
Service​ Inventory-Revised (LSI-R) to determine supervision level and treatment needs.​ Additional
classification tools may also be used.
Treatment Needs Assessment
Assessment is the first step in treatment planning and​ must be completed completely and accurately in
order to develop an effective​ plan. ​ ​ State and local agencies use various methods of​ security/supervision
assessment, with the Level of Service Inventory-Revised​ (LSI-R) being one of the most popular. The LSI-R is
the assessment tool​ utilized by the Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC) per the Internal​ Management
Policy and Procedure number 10-104. ​ ​ The LSI-R is an objective, 54-item risk/needs​ assessment instrument
that focuses on ten categories of static and dynamic risk​ factors. Static risk factors are those that cannot be
changed, such as the​ offender’s age and offense history. Dynamic risk factors are generally the​ focus of
treatment and rehabilitation, as they are the risk factors that are​ changeable, such as substance abuse and
anger issues.​ ​ ​
Assessment Tools
Level of Service Inventory-Revised (LSI-R)
The Level of Service Inventory-Revised (LSI-R) remains the most well-known and utilized assessment tool in
correctional case management. The tool was developed in the 80’s by two psychologists, Andrews & Bonta,
and initially called the Level of Service Inventory (LSI). After further research, they updated the tool in the
90’s and it became known as the Level of Service Inventory-Revised (LSI-R). The LSI-R measures both static
and dynamic risk factors. Static risk factors are those that cannot be changed through treatment. Age, for
example. As offenders age, their risk for reoffending lessens. So, age of an offender represents a static risk
factor. Dynamic risk factors are those that can be changed. Addiction, for example, is a significant risk factor
for reoffending. It can, however, be reduced through appropriate treatment and interventions [26] .
The LSI-R not only identifies the risk factors that case managers can use to develop a treatment plan, it also
provides a recommended supervision level and a quantified level of risk for reoffending.
In the correctional environment, case managers should recognize that ​ offenders will often be resistant to
counseling. Developing rapport and ​ acknowledging that resistance is the first step in establishing an ​
effective counseling relationship. The case manager can use the intake ​ and assessment to begin this
process.​ ​ ​ Motivational Interviewing (MI) is also an effective way to help ​ offenders arrive at the decision to
change on their own, thus creating ​ more buy-in. MI is simply “a style of communicating that helps people ​
explore and resolve ambivalence about changing specific, maladaptive ​ behaviors” [27] . It can occur ​ during
very specific MI sessions with an individual offender or it can ​ be used as a general approach to working with
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Nondirective and Directive Counseling
Nondirective counseling is used largely outside of corrections, where the client guides the counseling.
However, we see it used in some ways in the Motivational Interviewing process, as we guide offenders to
identifying and make the decision to change through questioning. Directive counseling allows correctional
counselors to guide the offender towards the changes they need to reduce their likelihood of reoffending. We
will see the Motivational Interviewing process shift into a more directive counseling approach once the
offender has reached the decision to change.
Cognitive Behavioral Approach
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) counseling approaches often begin by focusing on changing negative ​
thought patterns. Those thought patterns are sometimes referred to as ​ core beliefs or schemas.​
CBT seeks to change these core beliefs or schemas through reality ​ testing and practice replacing them with
more positive or realistic ​ throughts through a process of reframing.
Group Counseling Techniques
The power of a well-established group can override the impact of ​ prisonization that can lead to positive
change. Case managers must plan ​ for a successful group by establishing clear goals, carefully selecting ​
participants, and leading the group in establishing rules and guidelines.​
​ By utilizing the group approach, we can draw on the experience of each ​ participant and allow group
interactions to serve a therapeutic purpose. ​ Group members play the role of both counselor and the
counseled. Groups ​ also allow members to practice appropriate social interactions under the ​ guidance of the
counselor/case manager.
Unit 4 Case Manager Roles in Correctional Settings
Case managers may encounter juvenile offenders in either the adult ​ system or the juvenile justice system.
And while the terminology may be ​ different, the needs of juveniles remain the same. Current research ​ tells
us that the adolescent brain is far from fully developed. ​ According to the National Institute of Mental Health
(2011), “the parts ​ of the brain involved in emotional responses are…even more active than ​ in adults, while
the parts of the brain involved in keeping emotional, ​ impulsive responses in check are still reaching
maturity.” [28]
Juvenile offenders account for 17% of all violent offenses and 26% of ​ all property crimes in the US [29] . We
have seen the rate of ​ juvenile violent offenses increase in recent years. Standard risk/needs ​ assessment
tools are not appropriate for juvenile offenders. Some of the ​ more popular juvenile instruments include​
​ Youth Level of Service/Case Management Inventory​
​ Child and Adolescent Functional Assessment Scale​
​ Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth​
​ Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Youth Version​
Given the development of the adolescent brain, most treatment approaches ​ focus on cognitive-behavioral
therapy (CBT) and social learning methods. ​ Adolescents are much more susceptible to change in
maladaptive thought ​ processes, making CBT an ideal approach.
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​ Case managing juvenile offenders offers unique advantages and ​ challenges. Case managers should take
time during assessment to obtain ​ as much information as possible from a variety of sources. The advantage
​ we have with juveniles is access to so many sources of information, ​ including parents, school counselors,
teachers, and sometimes even ​ employers. Of course, some of those advantages can present unique ​
challenges, as well. Case managers have to be prepared to deal with ​ resistant or even destructive parents.
They may also be involved with ​ motivating a resistant juvenile to comply with school attendance. ​ Whatever
the advantages and challenges faced, it is important for case ​ managers to remember that working with
juveniles provides us with an ​ opportunity to motivate positive change in a population that is ​ generally more
adaptable than adult offenders.​
Listen to this podcast presented by DC Public Safety on Youthful Offender Programs
Trauma in Juvenile Offenders
​ Rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in juvenile offenders ​ (3%-50%) are comparable to those of
soldiers returning from deployment ​ in Iraq (12%-20%).​
​ Trauma experienced in early childhood impacts a critical developmental ​ period.​
​ More than 60% of justice-involved youth experienced a trauma within the ​ first five years of life.​
​ Approximately 1/3 of justive-involved youth have experienced multiple ​ traumas. [30] ​
Resiliency Theory
​ Resiliency Theory suggests that by establishing and increasing ​ protective factors, counselors can lessen the
long-term impact of trauma ​ in children and adolescents. Protective factors fall under three ​ categories:
individual (intelligence and education), family (supportive ​ parents), and community (connections to adults in
the community).​
Labeling Theory
​ Labeling theory is another popular theory applicable to juvenile ​ offenders. Research indicates that people
are very susceptible to the ​ power of expectation and individuals will live up or down to the ​ expectations set
for them. As such, Labeling Theory suggests that ​ adolescents labeled as delinquent or with mental disorders
strongly ​ linked to juvenile delinquency (ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, ​ etc.) will internalize that label.
This will lead to further negative ​ behaviors based on the expectations associated with that label.
Carey (2010), in a coaching series he developed for the 2007 Prisoner ​ Reentry Initiative Grant Program,
defines case management as​
The strategic use of resources – including staff time, correctional ​ programs, and other types of resources – at
the case level to enhance ​ the likelihood of success following institutional release and discharge ​ from
supervision, decreasing the likelihood of offender recidivism [31] .​
It is important to keep in mind that case management begins with intake ​ and continues through release. It
is an ongoing and changing process ​ that relies on continuous evaluation of offender progress. An approach ​
growing in popularity throughout the criminal justice system is ​ Evidence-Based Practice (EBP). EBP, put
simply, means that we utilize ​ interventions and approaches that are based in research and demonstrate ​
positive outcomes when assessed. The process requires individualized ​ case plans for offenders and
consistent measurement and feedback ​ throughout the treatment process.
​ EBP utilizes eight basic steps to ensure the highest rates of success.​
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1. Assess offender risk/needs: The Level of Service ​ Inventory-Revised (LSI-R) is one of the most
popular tools that allows ​ us to assess both static and dynamic risk factors.​
2. Enhance offender motivation: Motivational ​ Interviewing (MI) utilizes effective listening and
questioning to ​ allow an offender to arrive at the decision to change on his/her own.​
3. Target interventions: Interventions should be ​ specific to the offender’s risks and needs.​
4. Monitor delivery of interventions: Cognitive ​ behavioral strategies are most supported by EBP
5. Increase positive reinforcement: Researchers have ​ found that optimal behavior change results
when the ratio of ​ reinforcements is four positive to every negative reinforcement.​
6. Engage in ongoing support via natural communities: ​ Therapeutic Communities (TCs) offer a
supportive, prosocial community ​ to effect offender change during incarceration.​
7. Measure processes: An accurate and detailed ​ documentation of case information, along with a
formal tool for ​ measuring outcomes, is the foundation of evidence-based practice.​
8. Provide feedback: Offenders need feedback on their ​ behavioral changes, and program staff need
feedback on program ​ integrity [32] .
While case managers working in corrections should utilize a high level ​ of care and empathy for the
populations they are helping, they should ​ also maintain an awareness of offender attempts to manipulate
and ​ triangulate staff.​ ​ ​ Learning to detect inmate deception and avoid manipulation generally ​ comes with
experience. However, some books that can help familiarize you ​ with basic inmate deception and
manipulation tactics include:
Games Criminals Play: How You Can Profit By Knowing Them
The Art of the Con: Avoiding Offender Manipulation
Game Over! Strategies for Redirecting Inmate Deception
Special Populations
Female Offenders
We have seen a steady increase in the percentage of female
offenders in ​ the US over the last forty years [33] . These ​ offenders bring with them unique issues for case
managers to be aware of.
​ Pregnancy​
​ History of abuse​
​ Self-esteem and emotional issues​
Offenders with Mental Illness
​ According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 56% of state inmates have ​ a diagnosable mental illness [34] .
Those with severe ​ mental illness may be close to 10% [35] . These ​ inmates pose particular challenges for
correctional staff due to their ​ tendency towards psychosis and paranoia. They may struggle to understand ​
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prison rules and spend large amounts of time in segregation. In the ​ community, it can be challenging to
keep these offenders compliant with ​ medication to control their symptoms.​
​ The Frontline documentary below highlights the issue of mental illness ​ in our jails and prisons.
Elderly Offenders
Most offenders age out of criminal behavior, so elderly offenders ​ represent a small percentage of the
offender population. A large portion ​ of this population have lower IQs than average inmates, unstable ​
employment histories, and high rates of alcoholism. Their age and ​ physical stature makes them vulnerable
targets in prison and many ​ struggle to adapt to the physical environment of prison. They also ​ require
greater access to health care than younger inmates. Falter ​ (1999) found that over 80% of elderly inmates
have at least one chronic ​ health problem, with 50% having at least three [36] .
Sex Offenders
​ Perhaps the most challenging offender for case managers to work with is ​ the sex offender. The challenge
comes not only in the form of ​ encouraging change in a population known for high rates of recidivism, ​ but
also in maintaining an objective approach to a population that ​ elicits such intensely negative emotions in
most people.​
It is important for case managers to recognize the different category of ​ sex offender, as treatment
approaches will vary depending on their ​ motivation and target victim.
Unit 5 Additional Resources
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Discussion 9
In 2-3 paragraphs, discuss how do you think case planning helps address a prisoner’s needs? Do
you think it is effective? Why or why not?
You are required to post an initial discussion post, answering the entire discussion question or
All initial posts should reference the textbook or at least one outside source. All sources must be
cited using APA guidelines.
Assignment 9
In a minimum of 1 page, describe what services a Case Manager can provide to offenders?
APA format required
Discussion 10
Discuss the various counseling approaches used by Case Managers for prisoners. What do you
believe works or doesn’t work?
You are required to post an initial discussion post, answering the entire discussion question or
All initial posts should reference the textbook or at least one outside source. All sources must be
cited using APA guidelines.
Assignment 10
In a minimum of 1-2 pages discuss how case managers, probation officers, and parole officers
build case plans for offenders. What should be included in these case plans. You may use
outside resources for your research.
APA format required, title page, reference page, proper citation

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