Assessment and planning
From the outset if a child’s time in custody, SPS and partners should work with the child to develop a phased, individual plan for their tie in custody and return to the community (SPS, 2021). An assessment of strengths, assets, circumstances and needs should be completed in collaboration with the child and any relevant person such as parents or carers (SPS, 2021; Scottish Government, 2021). The Personal Officer will complete a Positive Futures Plan (PFP) with all children. This is a strengths-based information gathering tool focusing on how the child will spend their time in custody working towards their return to the community.
From this, an individual support plan will be developed, which should detail the work, support, activities and interventions to be undertaken to meet the rights, needs, wellbeing and risks identified in the Child’s Plan, via the provision of comprehensive, holistic and individualised experiences and support from a range of services (Scottish Government, 2021). This may involve a variety of services including programmes staff, parenting officers, family contact officers, educationalists, youth work, counselling and third sector partners. The aim is that each child has at least one person who will maintain a positive relationship with them during and after custody. The support plan will be shared with the Lead Professional and should form part of the Child’s Plan.
Integrated Case Management (ICM) is a process where other agencies work with the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) to give children in custody help and support to address their needs, risks and vulnerabilities to reduce the likelihood of the child coming into further conflict with the law.
All children are managed under ICM but are separated into categories according to sentence type or length:
- A voluntary system for children sentenced to less than four years in custody with no post-release statutory supervision
- The individual support plan will be completed with the child within six weeks and presented to the multi-agency Case Management Board (CMB) who will ratify the plan, oversee compliance and ensure the child has a robust support plan for returning to their community.
- This will be monitored by the Personal Officer and Young Offender Institution (YOI) staff in the Standard ICM team, with the support plan updated as required
- For children sentenced to more than four years in custody or with post-release supervision directed by the court
- The PFP will be completed with the child and within six months of admission an initial case conference will take place involving the Personal Officer, Lead Professional, prison-based social work and Enhanced Case Co-ordinators to discuss and plan for the child’s intended outcomes over the next year and how areas of need, vulnerability and risk can be addressed.
- A risk assessment will be completed by prison-based social work and updated annually
For those few children in HMP&YOI Cornton Vale and Grampian, similar processes are adopted.
For children and young people subject to an Order for Lifelong Restriction (OLR)
During the child’s sentence, the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) acts as the Lead Authority. The child must have a Case Manager from the YOI who is responsible for undertaking risk assessments and preparing the Risk Management Plan (RMP). The RMP must be prepared by the Lead Authority and submitted to the Risk Management Authority for approval within nine months of sentence.
Families can be a crucial part of children’s throughcare support and often want to be involved throughout a child’s time in custody.
- For Standard ICM/STCM: families can be made aware of a child’s progress
- For Enhanced ICM: the child is involved in the case conferences and a family member should be invited. This requires the child’s consent. It is important that the child and their family are supported to understand the ICM process, the purpose of meetings and their involvement, and supported to attend where they wish to do so
The Good Practice Guidance for the Support of Families Affected by Imprisonment suggests that:
- Families should automatically be invited to ICM case conferences unless there are clear and evidenced reasons not to do so
- Invitations to case conferences should explain clearly the ICM process and whom to contact with any queries
- SPS should consider the notice and timing of meetings to maximise attendance and promote the Assisted Prison Visits Scheme for help with costs (including childcare expenses)
- SPS should offer support to family members following case conferences and ensure copies of the notes are shared, regardless of whether family members were able to attend
Resources for this page
- Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003
- Families Outside Integrated Case Management (ICM) Information Sheet
- Families Outside Travel and transport to Scottish prisons, and help with travel expenses
- ICM Practice Guidance Manual
- Risk Management Authority Order for Lifelong Restriction
- Broderick, R. and Carnie, J. (2020). Prisoner Survey 2019. Edinburgh: SPS.
- Children and Young People’s Centre for Justice (CYCJ). (2020). A Guide to Youth Justice in Scotland: policy, practice and legislation: Reintegration and Transitions. Glasgow: CYCJ.
- Criminal Justice Family Support Network. (2015). Good Practice Guidance for the Support of Families Affected by Imprisonment. Edinburgh: Families Outside.
- Nolan, D., Dyer, F. and Vaswani, N. (2018). "Just a wee boy not cut out for prison" : Policy and reality in children and young people's journeys through justice in Scotland,Criminology and Criminal Justice, 18(5).
- Scottish Government. (2011). Reintegration and Transitions - Guidance for Local Authorities, Community Planning Partnerships and Service Providers. Edinburgh: Scottish Government.
- Scottish Government. (2021b). Standards for those working with children in conflict with the law. Edinburgh: Scottish Government.
- Smith, S., Dyer, F. and Connelly, G. (2014). Young Men in Custody: A report on the pathways into and out of prison of young men aged 16 and 17. CYCJ: Glasgow.
- SPS. (2013). Report of the Scottish Prison Service Organisational Review - Unlocking Potential, Transforming Lives. Edinburgh: SPS.
- SPS. (2021). SPS Vision for Young People in Custody. Edinburgh: SPS.