Origins and Meaning

"Case management" is a term which is understood to have originated from the process of moving mental health patients out of institutional care and into the community in the USA and UK in the 1980's. 

There is no clear definition of what  it means; it does not always translate easily from its Anglo-American origins into other languages; the concept usually needs some interpretation when it is transferred from one sector (i.e. mental health) to another (i.e. criminal justice).

The word "management" implies authority and direction, that something more happens than would happen by chance or through the individual's own initiatives.  Any organisation which deals with (i.e. manages) "cases" (episodes with people) might be said to practice "case management"; their approach to it might be called a "case management approach".  The term is often used in this general way. 

In correctional systems, it is more commonly used to refer to a way of working in which multiple "interventions" are arranged for multi-problem, multi-issue people (cases).  It contrasts with an approach limited to one-to-one "therapy" or casework, although one-to-one "therapy" or casework may be one of the "interventions".  

It is often referred to as a "teamwork approach" because different people or organisations do different things with the same person at the same or different times.

It is this meaning of the term which is used in the DOMICE project.

There is often, but not always, one person "in charge" at any one time.  Throughout the DOMICE Project this person is called the "case manager", although different organisations use different titles for the same role.


  • Case

    A person bound into a relationship with the correctional services by a correctional measure.

  • Case Management

    The arrangements made and the processes followed to co-ordinate and integrate the different components of a correctional measure. This will include how the activities of assessing, planning and reviewing a case are organised.

  • Compliance

    Co-operation with the terms of the correctional measure e.g. residing where directed, keeping appointments as instructed, receiving treatment.

  • Continuity

    Stability of care and treatment but also a reasonable degree of stability of relationship with a case manager running through the whole correctional journey.

  • Correctional Measure

    The legal framework within which case management and interventions operate i.e. a sentence, measure, sanction or other court order.  This is will cover supervision and constructive activities with unconvicted offenders, community-based or non-custodial sentences and/or orders, custodial provisions, including arrangements for post-release supervision, and other sanctions.

  • Enforcement

    Action taken as a result of non-compliance, beyond general encouragement, including formal warnings, returning the individual to court or prison, or other similar sanctions.

  • Monitoring

    An ongoing process of keeping track of events and developments.

  • Offender

    A person who is a current post-conviction case of the correctional services.

  • Prison sentences

    A generic term used in DOMICE to include any sentence of incarceration, e.g. prison, detention, custody.

  • Supervision

    Personal contact through which oversight and monitoring of an individual is exercised, within the framework of a correctional measure.