Roles and responsibilities of correctional case worker

Roles and responsibilities of correctional case worker

Role of a Correctional Case Worker

A correctional case worker has varying roles/functions in the correctional institutions. Since the institutions operate in different manner based on the nature of offence and offender, the Correctional case worker is also expected to change his roles and responsibilities in accordance with that. The different correctional institutions we can broadly classified into four and they are; Prison, Jail, juvenile homes and community correction. Hence, the professional role of a correctional case worker not only limited inside the walls of correctional institutions but also outside, in the community via probation, parole, intermediate sanctions etc.

Institutional Correctional Case Work

In institutional correctional case work, the case worker performs his duties and knowledge within the institution itself. The working place may be Prison, Jail or Juvenile homes Prisons are sate correctional institutions that mainly consists of three types of security level,

(1) maximum and closed prisons for most serious and violent offenders,

(2) medium security prisons for moderately serious offenders,

(2) minimum security prisons for inmates who demonstrate good behaviour by not committing new infractions or by participating in prison programmes.


A jail is a place of confinement typically administered by Department of Police. Jail occupy only individuals who are waiting trial, who are waiting to be transferred to prison, or who are convicted of relatively minor crimes and receive relatively short sentences. The case worker can initiate recommendations that deals with the issues such as transfers and custody level reduction/increase based on their new scores. He can also impart legal literacy to the offender when it is needed.

Juvenile Home

Juvenile homes are those places of forced confinement of youths who are deemed to pose a danger to themselves and society. When a youth has been judged guilty of an offence, the juvenile court may impose the most severe sanction by restricting the juvenile’s freedom through placement in juvenile homes. The ultimate aim of juvenile homes is to prevent juvenile delinquency and reproduce socially responsible citizens.
The case worker is responsible for ensuring the mental health care of the juvenile and substance abuse treatment. Apart from the psychological aspect, the case worker should
enhance the social/ family relationship of the juvenile and schooling.

Community Correctional Case Work

Community correctional case work is community based approach and aims to restoration. The case worker cross the walls of the institutions and reaches to the offender or who complete legal punishment in the community where they belong. Community correctional case work helps to reduce the crimes and offences and helps the individual to keep up a normal social life. Offenders in community correction come from two sources:
1. Probationers, who serve their sentences in the community without being incarcerated
in prison /jail.
2. Ex- prisoners, who have served their prison terms and reenter the community.

The goal of community correctional case work is to assist offenders in breaking the cycle of offending so that they can become productive, contributing members of the community. Community correctional case work also provides support to the victims of crime. Correctional community case work performs its case work process in three community correction settings: (1) Probation, (2) Parole, (3) Intermediate sanctions.


Probation usually is considered the least restrictive of the alternatives to the incarceration. Probation is the most frequently used punishment, a sentence that is served in the  community under supervision. Probation is most commonly granted to first time offenders,
drug offenders, property offenders and low risk offenders.


Parole is a distinct form of community corrections related to probation. Parole is a common method of reducing a sentence of imprisonment on the basis of sentencing statutes.

Intermediate Sanctions

Utilization of community resources among the offenders when they come after or during the punishment enable him to be a better adjustment with the community. A correctional case worker can help the offender for sanctioning community services like public service for non profit organization, cleaning playgrounds, painting houses etc. A case worker should be well equipped with supervision and monitoring of the offender enhances the worker to achieve the restorative and rehabilitative goals of correction.

General responsibilities of Correctional Case Worker

There are some general responsibilities for correctional case worker across the agencies:
1. Assessing the offender’s risk and needs in such areas as reoffending, anger management, poor impulse control, interpersonal conflicts, prison adjustments, substance abuse, mental health, education and employment.
2. Application of case work method, case management and other interventions to address offenders’’ criminogenic needs and dysfunction in those areas.
3. Reviewing, preparing and updating records and reports (either on paper or in a computer file) concerning the clients’ issues in crime involvements, institutional infractions, institutional program participation personal relationships, and other areas.
4. Participating in staff meetings to discuss, develop, ad implement rehabilitation plans for a client, as required by rules, policies, and procedures of the correctional system.

General responsibilities of a community correctional case worker

The general responsibilities of a community correctional case worker may be more diverse and flexible than those of a worker working with inmate clients.
The priority of community supervisions involves making sure offenders follow two types of conditions of supervision:

(1) those intended for offender rehabilitation or reform, and

(2) those intended for control of offenders.

The rehabilitation based conditions of community corrections push for offenders to seek a noncriminal way of life by attaining education, employment, substance treatment, and anger management and/or by participating in other programs in the community. The control based conditions help the correctional agency keep track of those undersupervision, including the requirement of reporting on a regular basis, prohibitions of
involvement in certain places (e.g., school), people (e.g., victim, crime partners, potential
victims), certain behaviors (drugs, alcohol, illegal activities, and hanging out).

These two types of conditions can be further divided into four categories:
1. Standard Conditions, in standard condition there may be travel restrictions, no contact with children (for sex offenders).

(2) Community placement conditions,  which consist of notice of changing residency and completing treatment and education requirements;

(3) court ordered conditions, which specify a particular requirement for the offender on the basis of his or her criminal case. And

(4) financial conditions which are related to the offenders financial responsibility to the government or the victim(s).

2. Completing intake assessment of initially entering offenders in the community and perform risk assessment/ reassessments, identifying and monitoring the offenders performance and compliance with the conditions and prohibition during the community correction.

3. Updating supervision plans, conduct pre sentence investigation and prepare reports.

4. The case worker has obligation to meet, observe, and interact with the clients both in the office and in the community and also to maintain contact with a client’s family members and employers, other members of criminal justice system, community agencies and programme service providers.

5. the community correctional case worker should focus on target interventions, which not only working with high risk offenders but also concentrating on important offender issues such as anger management, employment and education services and on applying other practical reintegration strategies.

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