Criminal Justice Social Work
As one of the UK’s largest recruiters of social work and criminal justice professionals we’re often asked, ‘what is criminal justice social work’?
Well, it’s a specialist social worker role, also referred to as forensic social work. The role of a criminal justice social worker is to support vulnerable adults or children who have a criminal offence.
What does criminal justice social work involve?
Within the criminal justice community there’s a higher number of vulnerable people and they may already be known to social services.
The role of the social worker is to help criminal justice partners deliver the right interventions to help safeguard the individual and prevent reoffending. They also play a vital role in ensuring families remain connected, especially where a parent or child is within a prison setting.
What is a criminal justice social work report?
Before sentencing, the Court can ask for a criminal justice social work report to be created that gives information about the individual offender. The social worker will meet the individual to gather the information required. Usually, this includes details of offences that led to a court appearance as well as their personal, financial, and health circumstances.
As the report writer, the social worker may need to request permission from the individual to access doctors’ records. They will also need to detail any past social services involvement.
Depending on the severity of the offence, they will discuss whether community service is an option and make their recommendations to the Court.
What will I need to know?
Working in criminal justice social work, you’ll need to have a good understanding of the criminal justice system. Ideally, you’ll have worked within a criminal justice team before and have knowledge of the relevant legislation, policies, and guidelines.
You’ll be supporting different types of offenders with challenging behaviours. Your criminal justice case load could include those on a sex offender licence, Probation, Community Payback Order or Parole. Each person will have their own issues and so a large part of your role will be about assessing risk.
What is a criminal justice social work intervention?
You’ll be expected to support offenders in accessing the right interventions to help them understand their behaviour and the impact it has on others. This will also mean preparing reports to assess suitability for parole, home leave and home detention curfew orders.
As a criminal justice social worker, you’ll will deliver individual and group based interventions that support the Effective Practice Agenda.
Similarly, you’ll also be expected to be part of case conferences. This is where you bring together professionals such as substance misuse workers and mental health specialists.
For the social workers we know who have made the jump into criminal justice, the decision has been an incredibly rewarding one.
To find out about criminal justice social work opportunities in your area, simply register today!