What is Offender Management?
‘Offender Management’ is about how your time in prison and under supervision in the community is managed.
The aim of offender management is to try to rehabilitate people so they are less likely to offend in the future.
This could mean setting different goals for you to complete during your sentence. These goals are known as your sentence plan.
Who are the main staff involved in managing my sentence?
Your Prison Offender Manager (POM) will work with you whilst you are in prison. They are part of the team called the Offender Management Unit (OMU). They will work with your Community Offender Manager to help you complete goals on your sentence plan.
Your Community Offender Manager (COM) also known as your probation officer, is someone based in the probation service in the community. They will work with you to help you not to re-offend after you leave prison. They may also visit you in prison before you are released and make decisions about what you should be doing in prison (see below).
Your key worker is a member of prison staff whose responsibility it is to support you throughout the custodial period. They should meet with you an average of 45 minutes per week. They can help you raise any concerns and communicate with your POM.
What should I do if I want to see my Prison Offender Manager or Community Offender Manager?
If you would like to see your Prison Offender Manager, you should ask your key worker or put in an application to OMU.
If you would like to see or speak to your Community Offender Manager, you can ask your Prison Offender Manager to find out when this can happen. You could also write to your Community Offender Manager at their address in the community.
If you are finding it difficult to get a response about either of these, you may wish to make an internal complaint. There is more information about this in our information sheet Making a Complaint.
Offender Assessment System (OASys)
Prison and probation services use a tool called the Offender Assessment System. This is often called OASys.
Staff use OASys to complete a risk and needs assessment. This means working out why you offend and what you can do to help you stop offending. It is also means working out if you are likely to harm yourself or other people, and what can be done to make this less likely.
The assessment includes an interview and a self-assessment questionnaire for you to complete.
When should my initial OASys assessment be completed?
If you are serving a determinate sentence of over 10 months your Prisoner Offender Manager should complete an initial OASys assessment within 10 weeks of being sentenced.
If you are serving an indeterminate sentence your Prisoner Offender Manager should complete an initial OASys assessment within 16 weeks of being sentenced.
When should my OASys assessment be reviewed?
If you are serving a determinate sentence of over 2 years Prisoner Offender Manager should complete review your OASys assessment at least every 2 years prior to handover to your Community Offender Manager.
If you are serving an indeterminate sentence your Prisoner Offender Manager should review your OASys at least every 3 years prior to handover to your Community Offender Manager. It should also be reviewed 2 years and 24 weeks prior to parole eligibility date (PED) for the purposes of the pre-tariff sift (please see our information sheet about The Parole Board and parole reviews for more information on this)
In addition to the above, your OASys should be reviewed at the following times;
- Prior to a transfer to open conditions
- Whenever there is a significant event which changes the risk management and/or sentence plan.
If you think that your OASys assessment has not been reviewed recently enough you can put in an application to OMU to request this. You could also make a formal complaint if it is causing problems with your progression.
Does my OASys get reviewed before I am released?
If you are serving a determinate sentence, your Community Offender Manager should review your OASys between 8 and 2 weeks before you are released. If you are a MAPPA Level 2 or 3 case this should happen 6 months before you are released. There is more information about MAPPA on page 12.
If you are serving an indeterminate sentence your Community Offender Manager should review your OASys 24 weeks before your Parole Eligibility Date (PED)
What is my OASys assessment used for?
Your OASys assessment will be used to create your sentence plan. There is more about sentence plans on page 6.
Information on OASys will also be considered for decisions such as HDC, ROTL and re-categorisation. If you are serving a parole eligible sentence, it will also be looked at by the Parole Board when they consider your case.
Do I have a right to know what is in my OASys assessment?
You should be shown what is written in your assessment and sentence plan. The prison should give you a copy of your completed assessment if you ask for one.
However, there may be a list of ‘sensitive information’ which the prison does not have to disclose to you.
Risk assessments and indicators
Your OASys report includes different assessments of risk based on different types of information.
Some of these assessments are based on static risk factors – this means things that can’t change like age at first offence, nature and frequency of offending, number of custodial sentences that you have had.
Some are based on dynamic factors – this means things that can change over time such as substance misuse, employment, accommodation, thinking and behaviour and attitudes.
Some risk assessment also use acute risk factors – this means things that can change quickly which would mean that serious offending becomes very likely.
Offender Group Reconviction Scale (OGRS)
OGRS is a risk assessment tool used to estimate likelihood of re-offending.
OGRS using static factors such as age, gender and criminal history. It gives a score, which shows the likelihood of someone re-offending within a 12 and 24 month period.
OGRS scores range from 0 to 1. A lower score means a lower likelihood of re-offending. The score can also be shown as a percentage.
OASys General reoffending Predictor (OGP)
The OASys General reoffending Predictor (OGP) estimates the likelihood of non-violent offending using both static and dynamic risk factors. The static risk information is provided by the OGRS, as mentioned above.
OGP covers all offences, except violence, sexual offending and rare, harmful offences such as arson, child neglect or terrorist offences.
OASys Violence Predictor (OVP)
The OASys Violence Predictor (OVP) is similar to OGP, above, but it estimates the likelihood of nonsexual violent offending including homicide and assault, threats and harassment, violent acquisitive offences (e.g., robbery and aggravated burglary), public order, non-arson criminal damage and weapon possession offences.
OVP uses both static and dynamic risk factors. The static risk information is provided by the OGRS, as mentioned above.
Risk of Serious Harm (RoSH)
The Risk of Serious Harm (RoSH) assessment estimates the risk of serious harm to others.
The prison service defines risk of serious harm to be ‘a risk which is life-threatening and/or traumatic, and from which recovery, whether physical or psychological, can be expected to be difficult or impossible’.
The RoSH assessment includes looking at the following:
- risk of serious harm to others
- risks to children
- risks to the individual – including risks of suicide or self harm, ability to cope in custody or hostel settings and general vulnerability.
- other risks – including escape or abscond risks, control issues or other risks around breach of trust.
The assessment is divided into a screening and a full risk assessment. The screening process is used to decide if a full assessment is needed.
The RoSH assessment will give a rating of Very High, High, Medium or Low risk of serious harm. These are described in PSI 18/2016 NOMS Public Protection Manual as follows:
- low: current evidence does not indicate a likelihood of causing serious harm;
- medium: there are identifiable indicators of serious harm. The offender has the potential to cause such harm, but is unlikely to do so unless there is a change in circumstances – for example, failure to take medication, loss of accommodation, relationship breakdown, drug or alcohol misuse;
- high: there are identifiable indicators of serious harm. The potential event could happen at any time and the impact would be serious;
- very high: there is an imminent risk of serious harm. The potential event is more likely than not to happen as soon as the opportunity arises and the impact would be serious. “Opportunity” can include the removal or overcoming of controls, and changes in circumstances.
If you receive a rating of very high, high, or medium risk of serious harm, a risk management plan must be completed.
Other risk tools and indicators you may come across
Risk Matrix 2000
The Risk Matrix 2000 (RM2000) is a risk assessment tool which uses static risk factors to predict the likelihood of reconviction for a sexual or violent offence. It is used by prisons, police and probation for men aged 18 and over with at least one conviction for a sexual offence.
OASys Sexual reoffending Predictor (OSP)
The OASys Sexual reoffending Predictor (OSP) predicts the likelihood of proven reoffending for a sexual or sexually motivated contact offence and for offences relating to indecent images of children. It has begun to replace the Risk Matrix 2000 (RM2000) as the main tool used to assess the likelihood of repeat sexual reconviction.
OSP must be calculated for all adult males:
- with an index offence or previous sanction for a sexual offence
- where the assessor has identified, in OASys, a current or previous nonsexual offence which has a sexual motivation.
There is more information in the Implementation and use of OASys Sexual reoffending Predictor (OSP) Policy Framework.
Spousal Assault Risk Assessment (SARA)
Spousal Assault Risk Assessment (SARA) looks at risk factors relating to spousal or family-related assault. It uses both static and dynamic risk factors. It is used cases where offending is linked to domestic abuse.
The Active Risk Management System is a dynamic risk management framework for male sex offenders aged 18+. The information feeds into the OASys RoSH and Sentence Management Plan.
Asset is an assessment tool for young offenders which looks at the offence and factors that may have contributed to the offending behaviour.
Risk of Serious Recidivism (RSR)
The Risk of Serious Recidivism (RSR) indicator was introduced in 2014 and is used by National Probation service to help make decisions about allocation of cases. It is used to assess how likely offenders are to commit a seriously harmful re‐offence within the next 2 years. RSR is mostly based on static factors but can include dynamic factors too.
There is more information in PSI 18/2016 NOMS Public Protection Manual
What is a sentence plan?
Your OASys assessment will be used to create an action plan to address the identified needs and risks. This plan is called your sentence plan.
Your sentence plan will include things you need to do to reduce the risk of reoffending in the community. If you have been assessed as having a risk of serious harm which is medium, high or very high it will also include things you need to do to reduce the risk of harm
It could include things you are going to do to change behaviour related to your offence, or how you are going to tackle problems to do with drugs and alcohol.
It could include completion of offender behaviour courses which are relevant to your offence.
It could include things to help your resettlement after release, such as improving education and employability.
Can I say what I think about my sentence plan?
Managing the Custodial Sentence Policy Framework says that ‘all prisoners who are in scope of OASys must be provided the opportunity to participate in their sentence planning’.
PSI 19/2014 Sentence planning also says:
‘It is essential that the development of the plan involves the offender, so that the offender is engaged in the process and therefore involved in considering what actions might be needed to reduce the risk the offender poses, both in terms of causing serious harm and further offending’
If you are not happy with something in your sentence plan, or if you have not been involved in the sentence planning process, you should speak to your keyworker or POM in the first instance. You could also make a formal complaint using the prison complaints system or directly to probation services.
What can be included on my sentence plan?
You sentence plan should clearly include:
- the overall outcomes to be achieved through the plan
- what you need to do to achieve the outcomes, and by when
- how your offender supervisor, offender manager and the prison will help you to achieve the outcomes
- who will review and update your sentence plan when needed
PSI 19/2014 Sentence Planning contains further guidance. It says your sentence plan must be ‘realistic and attainable’.
Objectives should be SMART. This means:
Actions should be set in order of priority.
Where completion of an action is dependent upon other factors this must be noted. The Managing the Custodial Sentence Policy Framework says you ‘must not be disadvantaged for not achieving an objective outside of their control’.
How often will my sentence plan reviewed?
Your assessment and sentence plan should be reviewed through your sentence, and particularly if there is a significant change which might mean a change in risk. For example, the prison might review your plan if:
- you have been transferred
- one of the objectives in the plan has been achieved
- you are approaching a parole review
- you are due for release
- progress is not being made and alternative options need to be considered
When your sentence plan is reviewed, the actions could be changed. For example, you could have extra actions added if something has become available or because there has been a change in risk. However, the overall outcomes in your sentence plan are likely to remain the same.
Interventions (including Offender Behaviour Programmes)
Interventions aim to change the thinking, attitudes and behaviours which may lead people to reoffend. Interventions will be included on your sentence plan to help you meet sentence plan objectives.
There are a number of different types of intervention. An intervention could be:
- a specific course or programme to address offending behaviour
- participation in education, such as a qualification in maths or English
- having a job in a prison to improve employability
- participation in a PIPE (Psychologically Informed Planned Environment)
Offending Behaviour Programmes
Offending Behaviour Programmes may be part of your sentence plan. They are designed to give people the skills to avoid reoffending after release.
They include programmes to address:
- specific offences, for example linked to sexual offending or domestic abuse;
- general patterns of offending behaviour e.g. programmes like ‘Kaizen’ (for high or very high risk men who have committed a sexual offences, general violence or domestic violence);
- challenging how people think e.g. Thinking Skills Programme (TSP) for men or women; and
- substance misuse related offending e.g. Drugs and Alcohol Rehabilitation Treatment (DART).
Most programmes are accredited by the Correctional Services Accreditation and Advisory Panel (CSAAP). The content and design of programmes is informed by the latest research about predictors of reoffending and what works to reduce reoffending.
Different programmes are available to address a wide range of needs and offences:
- Intimate Partner Violence
- General Offending
- Sexual Offending
- Substance Misuse
- General Violence
- Extremism and Gang Affiliated Offending
There are also adapted programmes for those with learning disabilities and Personality Disorder (PD).
Programmes added to your sentence plan should be relevant to the overall objectives of the plan. Your eligibility for a programme should be considered before it is added to your sentence plan.
There is more information in PSI 19/2014 Sentence Planning and HMPPS booklet – Interventions: Reducing Reoffending and Promoting Desistance.
There is also a List of CSAAP accredited programmes on www.gov.uk with descriptions of each programme.
Offender Personality Disorder Pathway
The Offender Personality Disorder Pathway (OPDP) is a connected set of interventions for people who are likely to meet the criteria for a diagnosis of personality disorder.
The OPDP joins together knowledge and ways of working from prison and probation and the NHS. It is delivered by health as well as prison and probation staff.
OPDP services can support people in prison from the early stages of their sentence through to their release. They also support people who have been released and who need some extra support adjusting to life within the community, as well as offering further interventions in the community.
Psychologically Informed Planned Environments (PIPEs)
OPDP Services include services called Psychologically Informed Planned Environments (PIPEs).
PIPEs are specifically designed residential environments. Staff working in a PIPE have additional training to give them a better psychological understanding of their work. This understanding helps them to create a safer and more supportive environment, which can facilitate the development of those who live there.
PIPEs are designed to have a focus on the environment in which they operate; recognising the importance and quality of relationships and interactions. They aim to maximise ordinary situations and to approach these in a psychologically informed way, paying attention to interpersonal difficulties, for example those issues that might be linked to personality disorder.
Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA)
Some people fall under management of MAPPA.
This is when police, probation and prison services work together with other professionals to manage people convicted of violent and sexual offences. The aim is to protect the public from harm.
You will be told if this applies to you.
There are three MAPPA ‘categories’:
Category One: All Registered Sexual Offenders
Category Two: Violent or other sex offenders not subject to notification requirements
Category Three: Other dangerous offenders
There are also three ‘risk levels’:
Level 1 – Ordinary agency management is for people who can be managed by one or two agencies (e.g. police and/or probation). It will involve sharing information about the offender with other agencies if necessary and appropriate.
Level 2 – Active multi-agency management is for people who are assessed as needing the ongoing involvement of several agencies to manage them. This involves discussion about their case in regular multi-agency public protection meetings.
Level 3 – This involves the same arrangements as level 2 but is for cases that are likely to require more resources and involvement of senior people from the agencies. For example, surveillance on an offender or emergency accommodation.
If you have a MAPPA assessment it will be used to make a risk management plan. It will also help staff decide if you are a risk to other people, such as children.
The types of things that might be on your risk management plan could be:
- Making sure you have suitable accommodation on release, such as Approved Premises.
- Strict licence conditions such as not having contact with a named individual or not to enter a defined exclusion zone.
- Intensive supervision by probation or community public protection police.
- Ensure you attend accredited programmes and other interventions aimed at reducing further offending.
Useful policy documents
- PSO 2205 Offender Assessment and Sentence Management – OASys
- PSI 19/2014 Sentence planning
- PSI 18/2016 NOMS Public Protection Manual
- Manage the Custodial Sentence Policy Framework
- Risk of Serious Harm Guidance 2020 – Public Protection Group (April 2020)