INDEPENDENT NEWS

New Prisoner Case Management System Risk for Prison Officers

Published: Wed 10 Aug 2011 02:23 PM
New Prisoner Case Management System a Risk for Prison Officers
“The new prisoner case management system could put prison officers at risk” says Kim Workman, Director, Rethinking Crime and Punishment. He was commenting on the appointment of 227 Prison Case Managers and the removal of that responsibility from prison officers.
“The 2009 Corrections Value for Money review warned about the risk of ‘dumbing down’ the prison officer’s role. Responsibility for prison case management provided officers with the opportunity to develop positive, trusting relationships with prisoners. What was previously a responsibility, has now become an option. It has downgraded the officer’s role and status. Officers can now safely be recruited from checkout counters and taxi cab ranks, without any expectation that they will rise to positions in senior management.”
“Prison officers already lag well behind the police in terms of status and public recognition. Many already see themselves as having pariah status. Professor Andrew Coyle, of the International Centre for Prison Studies, warned during his 2008 visit that further downgrading the role could lead to staff mistreating prisoners, and that officers would be more likely to obstruct management in its efforts to introduce organisational change.”
“The recent spates of assaults on prison officers by prisoners should send a signal that relationships are already deteriorating. The Corrections Union’s recommendation to put more bars on the windows, misses the point. Something needs to be done to give prison staff a greater sense of professional worth and appreciation of the value of their role.”
Rethinking was highly critical of the 2009 Value for Money Review from the outset, and argued against the changes that have now been implemented. You can read that view at:
http://www.rethinking.org.nz/assets/Print_Newsletters/Issue_65.pdf
ENDS

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