The manual is the guidance for prisons in relation to various aspects of public protection during a custodial sentence and in preparation for release. It includes assessing and managing risk, the role of the prison service within MAPPA and responsibilities relating to ViSOR (Violent and Sexual Offender Register, a database where information is held). Correspondence between prison and DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) is covered, along with safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children with other agencies. Included are the prison’s duties relating to: persons posing a risk to children; any child contact restrictions (including the prisoner’s children) during the prison sentence; and protection of the victims of harassment. How the establishment should deal with prisoners subject to sexual offender (SO) registration and notification and sexual orders (e.g SHPO) are covered. A table is presented of SO registration – Sentencing and age thresholds. Finally information is given pertaining to terrorist notification requirements and access to possession and display of materials within the prison.
This link to the National Offender Management Service (now Her Majesty’s Prison & Probation Service) Intranet takes you to an online resource covering risk assessment and management, and working with other agencies within the criminal justice system. It is designed for use for personnel within the prison and probation service individually, in group work or at training sessions. Training and managers notes are included. Each section has learning outcomes and it is made clear where supplementary training is necessary. Worksheets give the opportunity for self reflection and thoughts on scenarios or questions, at times with suggested answers. It is educational for anyone wanting to know more about the system (N.B latest update 2011).
A thematic inspection by HM Inspectorate of Probation and HM Inspectorate of Prisons, January 2019 © Crown copyright 2019.
The aim of this joint inspection was to assess the quality of services delivered both in prison and in the community and makes several recommendations. The statistics on number of sexual offenders, in prison and in the community puts into context the degree of work needed. Unfortunately, the report found “insufficient progress has been made since we last reported, on the then probation trusts in 2010” (p4). This report uncovers many shortfalls such as lack of training and support for personnel, lack of understanding of different strategies, poor communication and confusion regarding responsibilities. It also gives examples of good practice. The need for strength-based approaches runs through the report. Findings included a lack of evidence of work to reduce the likelihood of re-offending, both in prison and in the community. The glossary (annex 1) is useful for navigating around the various personnel and bodies involved and indeed the report does educate on who is involved with sexual offenders, their specific roles and how the various bodies should work together. It also includes mention of current treatment programmes and their availability.
The action plan, published April 2020 can be accessed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/management-and-supervision-of-men-convicted-of-sexual-offences