Initial Visit/Family Contact
With agreement from the family the initial visit to the prisoner should be preceded by a visit to the family, other than where the social enquiry report or other available information indicates that this would be inappropriate. The visit should take place within six weeks of the allocation of the case to the supervising officer.
The purpose of the visit to the family is to:
- Explain the role of the supervising social worker
- Explain the nature and implications of the sentence imposed and of supervision. Engage the family in fostering a positive attitude toward supervision.
- Explain the ICM process and the possible nature of future contact, including preparation of home background reports, pre-release planning etc.
- Assess the family reaction to the prison sentence and offer appropriate assistance in dealing with the consequences for them of imprisonment, including access to benefits and housing advice, childcare supports and information about voluntary organisations offering support including help with prison visiting and Families Outside.
Circular 12/2007 [ICM] states that contact with the prisoner will in the main be focused around the ICM Case Conferences which are held initially within six months of the prisoner's admission to custody and annually thereafter. This constitutes the minimum expected level of contact between the supervising officer and the prisoner. However, more frequent contact may be necessary in some cases. Decisions on the appropriateness of such visits may be influenced by a variety of factors: e.g. the attitude of the prisoner to supervision and the expected difficulties in securing compliance; the overall length of sentence;the outcomes from prison based work or programmes; changes in the prisoner's personal or family circumstances; and demands on operational resources.
The overall aims and objectives of the work of the supervising officer throughout the period of custody and after release are:
- The rehabilitation and re-settlement of the offender
- The prevention of further offending
- The protection of the public from harm from the offender