Process of identifying and managing sex and violent offenders before notification to the MAPPA
Community disposals involving local authority social work services
1. This section explains the existing process for identifying and managing offenders prior to notification to the MAPPA. The collation of relevant information assists the responsible authorities in making an informed decision on the level at which the offender will be managed. Local arrangements may vary.
2. In many cases when a sex or violent offender (Category 1 and 2) is sentenced to a community disposal, the responsible local authority will have prepared a Social Enquiry Report for the Court. This report will contain, amongst other things, a risk assessment which describes the risks posed by the offender and a suggested plan for the management of that offender. This applies specifically to Probation Orders, Community Service Orders and Drug Treatment and Testing Orders. In the case of Orders where no SER is required (e.g. Supervised Attendance Orders and Community Reparation Orders) there is still a need to share information to inform the risk management plan.
3. Additionally, when the offender on a community disposal is subject to the notification requirements of part 2 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, the police will also be involved in the ongoing assessment and management of the risk posed by that person, as a Responsible Authority. For these sex offenders an initial case discussion/conference between the police and local authority social work service will be held to share information and agree risk assessment and risk management plans.
4. In collating information, the police will access information and intelligence from sources such as Visor, the Scottish Intelligence Database and other police data systems. The relevant social work service will check Visor and all their records and liaise with any other agency (including health services) which may have information about the offender. This will ensure that any further relevant information held about the offender is shared. It will also establish whether any child is associated with the offender or living at his address. This equally applies to vulnerable adults. If the offender suffers from a mental illness or disability, community care services should be contacted. If the offender has been convicted of an offence against his own or other children or has been involved in previous child protection inquiries, children and families social workers should also be contacted for information. Where the offender has been imprisoned in the last 12 months in relation to other offences and no community integration plan is available, information should be obtained from SPS (or the equivalent private provider) via the prison social work unit, and psychological services. Where the offender has been detained in hospital, the Responsible Medical Officer should provide any relevant information. The agencies with a duty to cooperate will be defined by Scottish Statutory Instrument although this does not preclude information being sought from others.
5. Information should also be collected on the offender's housing position, as housing provision is crucial in ensuring that community safety is maximised. This is because the supervision, management and monitoring arrangements are most effective when the offender is in stable accommodation. The role of housing is important because local offices are often the first port of call for concerned residents. Social work services and housing staff should work closely together to address the offender's accommodation needs. In doing so the guidance in the National Accommodation Strategy for Sex Offenders (NASSO) should be followed in respect of all levels.
6. The collation and analysis of this information will assist the responsible authority to determine the level at which risk is assessed and managed (i.e. level 1, 2 or 3). It will also help identify the frequency/nature of contact with the offender, the allocation of specific tasks and the frequency of review. If it is considered that the offender is low or medium risk and that risk can be managed by one responsible authority then the offender need only be notified to the MAPPA coordinator as a level 1 offender. If it is considered that the offender's risk requires management under level 2 (MAPPA) or level 3 (MAPPP) arrangements, referral should be made to the MAPPA co-ordinator accordingly. (The criteria and process for notification and referral are described in Part 3)
7. National Objectives and Standards should be followed in relation to supervision arrangements for those subject to probation, DTTO or other supervision in the community. ACPOS National Standard Operating Procedures should be followed in relation to the joint visit by police and social work to sex offenders. The purpose of this visit is to outline the roles and responsibilities of both agencies i.e. the police in respect of the notification/registration requirements and social work in relation to supervision. A further joint visit will also be held at the conclusion of statutory supervision. This is the minimum level of joint visits required. The initial case discussion will determine the appropriate level of joint visits necessary for each case.
8. Where registered sex offenders are subject to a Community Service Order (CSO), Restriction of Liberty Order (RLO), Supervised Attendance Order ( SAO) or Community Reparation Order (CRO) they will not be subject to direct supervision by qualified social workers. However, it is important that a risk management plan is developed and the level at which risk is to be managed is decided. Where the offender is to be managed at level 1, the responsible authority should consider what involvement is also required from the agency responsible for the management of the court order.
9. Registered Sex Offenders not subject to community disposal or supervision are normally those offenders whose supervision order has expired but they are still on the sex offender register, or those who have received a short term sentence not more than six months. The police are the responsible authority and will decide on the level of risk with input from other agencies as necessary. This will, where necessary, inform the notification and referral to the MAPPA.
Sexual Offences Prevention Orders (SOPOs) and Risk of Sexual Harm Orders (RSHOs)
10. Persons subject to a SOPO or who have been convicted of breaching a RSHO (or are subject to any other Order which requires the offender to register their details under the Sexual Offences Act 2003) will fall within the criteria for the MAPPA. As with community disposals the police will wish to liaise with local authority social work services in the risk assessment and management process for those subject to these orders.
11. When a sex or violent offender (Category 1 and 2) is sentenced to a period in custody the Scottish Prison Service is the Responsible Authority during sentence and the new ICM procedures ensure early engagement with criminal justice social work, the police and other agencies for pre release planning purposes.
12. For those offenders who will be subject to a period of post release supervision, the SPS will at the start of sentence, identify and designate a local authority who will be responsible for the supervision of the offender on release. The designation of a local authority is made according to ordinary residence principles which involve consultation with the appropriate local authority. The local authority will thereafter appoint a named supervising officer responsible for making and maintaining contact with the prisoner and, where appropriate, his/her family during and after sentence.
13. The Integrated Case Management (ICM) system will provide the joint case management structure between the SPS and community based criminal justice social work for prisoners subject to the notification requirements of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 or those offenders convicted of violent offences and sentenced to 4 years or more and subject to supervision on release. Also included in the ICM process are those prisoners subject to supervised release orders and extended sentences regardless of the length of sentence. These categories are recorded by the SPS on the Prison Record System (PR2). Whilst in custody the case will be managed jointly between the Scottish Prison Service (or private sector equivalent) and Criminal Justice Social Work, both prison based and community based.
14. The enhanced part of ICM (i.e. those who are subject to statutory supervision) is predicated on a "case conference" approach to risk assessment and management. Central to this approach is inter-agency working which brings together the responsible authorities (SPS, Local Authority and police) and other relevant agencies in order to develop a rigorous and robust risk assessment and risk management plan. The case conference approach places the offender at the heart of the process and seeks to seriously engage them in the development of an appropriate plan which addresses their risks and needs. It will be important to pay particular attention to child protection and vulnerable adult concerns. The ICM case conferences will take place within the prison environment. However, as a prisoner who has been referred to the MAPPA nears their date of liberation, it will be appropriate for the level 2 or level 3 (MAPPP) meetings to be held in the local authority area where the person is to be released. It is however critical that the relevant information is available from the prison to inform these meetings. This process will be adopted for both sex offenders and violent offenders.
15. The ICM Pre-release Case Conference is scheduled to take place three months prior to the prisoner's release. This allows all the agencies sufficient time to engage with other service providers and plan any actions necessary prior to the prisoner's eventual release from custody. The ICM Pre-release Case Conference should therefore not be seen as the end point of the joint activities, rather the beginning of a "transition phase" between custody and the community. Prison and community based staff will have tasks which they are required to fulfil as part of the Community Integration Plan (CIP) (e.g. confirmed notification to the MAPPA Co-ordinator in appropriate cases) after the case conference and before the prisoner is released from custody. It should be noted that whilst the case conference sets the actions, the responsible authorities and agencies involved must ensure that those actions are carried out and that the arrangements for the management and supervision of the offender are in place and kept under review. National Objectives and Standards for Criminal Justice Social Work and the relevant ACPOS Standard Operating Procedures also apply.
16. On release, the prisoner's level of contact with the supervising officer, the nature of that contact and the programmed work/interventions in which they will be required to participate will be determined by the following factors:
(1) the level of risk that the prisoner poses
(2) the prisoner's assessed needs and
(3) the specific requirements of the licence/order to which they are subject
Integrated Case Management Process Relating to MAPPA
17. The process for life prisoners, indeterminate sentence prisoners and those who, in the future, will be made subject to an Order of Lifelong Restriction (OLR) is similar to the one described in the flowchart for parolees. It is not easily represented in diagrammatic form because of the complex nature of the existing procedures for these prisoners. However, the following information clarifies how the MAPPA process applies to them during the custodial period.
18. Life prisoners, indeterminate sentence and OLR prisoners will have a "punishment part" set by the Court, which stipulates the amount of time in custody the prisoner must serve in order to satisfy the requirements of retribution and deterrence. After this period of imprisonment has been served, release will be dependent on the assessed risk the prisoner poses to the community. A Tribunal of the Parole Board (e.g. the Life Prisoner Tribunal) makes this decision after having reviewed the prisoner's dossier. If the decision is to release the prisoner, then Scottish Ministers are obliged, by law, to release the prisoner as soon as reasonably practicable on receipt of the direction to release. In practice, this will normally be within 24 hours and no later than 48 hours from receipt of the direction. The Scottish Ministers have no discretion to exercise in such cases. If the decision is that the prisoner should not be released, then a date for a further review of the case will be set.
19. The enhanced ICM process applies to life prisoners, indeterminate sentence and OLR prisoners, as it does to those released on other statutory licences. In terms of the interface with the MAPPA process, advance notification to the MAPPA Co-ordinator should occur at the annual ICM case conference before the punishment part expires. Confirmed notification to the MAPPA Co-ordinator should follow immediately after the Tribunal has made the decision to release the prisoner. If the Tribunal decides not to release the prisoner and sets a further date to review the case, then the notification process follows a similar pattern: advanced notification at the ICM case conference prior to the Tribunal review date and confirmed notification takes place immediately after the decision to release is known.
20. There are particular challenges in making the MAPPA notification process interface with the logistical requirements for life prisoners. However, it should be remembered that Tribunals are oral hearings at which the prisoner may be legally represented and at which the Scottish Ministers are represented by an official of the Justice Department (Parole and Life Sentences Review Division), supported by an official from the Scottish Prison Service. Although these latter individuals will not be able to advise whether the Tribunal will release the prisoner, they will be able to inform if they will or will not be challenging any decision to release.
21. There will be a need to ensure that there is interface between the risk management plans for those subject to OLR, the Parole Board and the MAPPA arrangements. The case conference approach and multi agency involvement in assessing risk and preparation of risk management plans should ensure that there is consistency in the information provided to the Risk Management Authority and the Parole Board. However, it will be important to establish a dialogue to ensure that those bodies receive the relevant information and that the MAPPA can manage the risk.
22. A Risk Management Plan (RMP) is prepared for offenders subject to an OLR to ensure that risk is properly managed on a multi-disciplinary basis. Agencies with statutory responsibilities for the offender are to collaborate on the preparation of the RMP. Whilst the offender is in custody SPS will be responsible for writing the RMP and submitting it to the RMA. The RMP must provide an assessment of the offender's risk, describe the measures to be taken to minimise that risk and how these measures will be co-ordinated. The RMP will be based on the ICM case conference's action plan. The plan will be submitted to the RMA annually for approval. Guidance on the OLR was issued by the Scottish Executive Justice Department, Parole and Life Sentence Review Division in June 2006.
Sex offenders sentenced to less than 6 months
23. For sex offenders sentenced to less than 6 months custody who are not subject to supervision on release, the responsible authority on release from prison will be the police. The ICM process also applies to this group and therefore pre release case conferences will take place. The SPS record the offender on PR2, and ultimately Visor, and will inform the police of the release date of the prisoner under the requirements of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. SPS will inform the police at the earliest possible date after conviction and no later than four weeks before the prisoner's actual liberation date. Equally, SPS will notify the social work unit in the prison where the offender is being held. This is important because it allows prison based social work the opportunity to liaise with local authority colleagues and other agencies whose involvement may be required. Moreover, they may have duties to perform in respect of child protection, for example in cases where the person has committed a Schedule 1 offence.
Violent offenders not subject to supervision on release
24. By virtue of their sentence these prisoners do not automatically fall within MAPPA. It is assumed that in the majority of cases the court will have imposed the sentence according to the information available to it at the time which will include the risk of harm posed by the prisoner. However, if during the SPS assessment process for HDC it becomes apparent that the offender is not eligible for HDC and it is considered that he is likely to pose a risk of serious harm on release, the case should be referred to the SPS Risk Management Group who will consider if the prisoners should be referred for consideration to the MAPPA under Category 3 (persons who by virtue of their conviction pose a risk of serious harm).
Release of prisoners
25. Where offenders who are likely to fall into the MAPPA notification or referral arrangements have the potential to be released on an interim basis, or are released early for other reasons, the prison must ensure that the other responsible authorities, in particular the police, the designated supervising officer and other agencies involved are notified as far in advance as possible of the arrangements for release and return to the prison (where applicable). The process outlined above (for those prisoners subject to statutory supervision) stresses the importance of this and builds in advance and confirmed notifications. This should minimise the likelihood of offenders "slipping through the net".
Temporary Release from Custody (Home Leave)
26. Temporary Release is the generic name for any period of agreed leave (for the prisoner) from prison during their sentence. Temporary leave can be broken down into two basic types: escorted and unescorted leave. Escorted leave means that the prisoner is accompanied by prison based staff to the leave address (and back) for the duration of the visit. Unescorted leave means that the prisoner travels independently to the leave address and back. In most cases, prisoners tend to progress through periods of escorted leave to unescorted leave, though there are exceptions to this rule.
27. Temporary release presently comes in many forms; home leave being one such type. The Prisons and Young Offenders Institution (Scotland) Rules 2006 define the specific rules for the various types of leave, with the SPS describing certain criteria .
28. As prisoners progress through the prison system they become eligible for temporary release. Unescorted home leave may be available for periods of up to 7 nights. The decision to release prisoners is ultimately one for the SPS, though this decision is normally taken after consultation with other criminal justice agencies and a full consideration of all the available information.
29. In cases where a MAPPA offender is being considered for temporary release it is imperative that there is good communication and information sharing between the SPS and the other responsible authorities. Police and local authority social work services will have particular functions to perform (individually and collectively) around risk assessment and risk management. Where registered sex offenders are being released the police and social work must be notified prior to release. It is also important to stress that where the offender has committed an offence defined in Schedule 1 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995, the child protection procedures for notifying the relevant local authority/authorities must be followed. These procedures are detailed in the Scottish Executive Justice Department Circular 18/2003. Any last minute changes to the intended release address or other arrangements must be notified to the police and social work as a matter of urgency.
Interim liberation pending appeal
30. It is not possible to predict that a prisoner will be granted interim liberation pending appeal however, in instances where this occurs, the prison service should notify the police and criminal justice social work of the release of the prisoner and the latest known address.
31. Where a prisoner has applied for an appeal but is not released the police and, where relevant, criminal justice social work should be advised that:
· Leave has been granted to appeal; and
· The appeal date.
Last minute changes to arrangements for release
32. No matter how carefully organised, plans for the release and management of offenders can be compromised at the last minute by changes to release time, travel plans or address arrangements. Wherever possible such changes should be avoided. However in such circumstances it is crucial that consultation is undertaken by the prison with the police, local authority social work (including emergency duty teams where appropriate) and other relevant agencies involved, wherever possible in advance of release. If this is not possible the police and local authority social work should be informed as a matter of urgency.
 The Prisons and Young Offenders Institution (Scotland) Rules 2006