Project summary

Working with over 40 correctional jurisdictions, spanning 34 countries, over a 21 month period in 2010 and 2011, the DOMICE Project sought to understand, share and contrast case management arrangements across whole correctional systems.  It was the first project to undertake such a study, generating a high degree of engagement and enthusiasm.

The project fieldwork was undertaken through an innovative programme of  telephone interviews and Focus Groups.  A complete set of interactive  "System Maps" was produced, enabling data and intelligence to be compared between very diverse systems.

The project found that individualised case management could be identified in every system examined.  The expenditure on managing individual cases is substantial.  Despite this, nowhere is case management designed and delivered as an integrated, system-wide function; nowhere does a single plan for case management span the pre-sentence and post-sentence, and custody and community stages.  Most often arrangements are specific to particular providers, separate stages of the correctional system, individual sentences or particular projects.  In some places, much attention has been applied to some of the tasks which make up case management, like assessment, but too often the process itself is not managed as an integrated whole.  Quality assurance is weak.

The result is duplication on a large scale, creating a repetitive, fragmented experience for accused and offenders passing through systems.  Systems are consequently less efficient and effective than they otherwise could be.  

At a time when the increasing mobility of offenders in Europe makes it all the more important that there is an understanding in one jurisdiction about the arrangements in others, the project found little evidence that case management arrangements are understood between jurisdictions.  

The project recommends:

  • a continued focus on the subject of case management, to generate a common understanding and "language" for pan-European learning and development; the project's findings could usefully be developed into a European Manual of Correctional Case Management
  • that jurisdictions critically examine their case management arrangements across the whole system, from the perspective of an offender passing through it, with a view to building higher levels of co-ordination and integration between separate providers and stages.  In particular that assessment and record-keeping arrangements are synchronised and rationalised, and that arrangements in which offenders are required to work with multiple, sequential "key relationships" are reduced
  • that the training and induction of case managers  at all stages of systems includes a European perspective
  • that funding be sought to develop and maintain the DOMICE Project System Maps as an accessible compendium of up-to-date information about how different correctional systems across Europe function