Zoom Out: Your Caseload Needs a Wider Lens

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With increased emphasis on individualized case planning, it’s easy to narrow our focus and get immersed in the details of individual cases. And while that type of focus is essential, it’s also important to zoom out and look at the big picture.

Don’t just manage cases; manage your caseload. Taking in the full spectrum of your caseload is essential.  The Risk-Needs-Responsivity model can help you ensure you’re using a variety of strategies to safely and cost-effectively manage offenders.

When you zoom out, here’s what to look for:

1. Risk Based Supervision. Do your levels of supervision align with the offender’s assessed risk?  Research shows that low-risk offenders are more likely to reoffend when they’re supervised at higher levels.¹ When using the least restrictive means to supervise low-risk offenders, you’re giving priority to what matters the most and avoiding the unintended and negative consequences associated with over-supervision.

2. Commingled risk groups. One of the reasons elevated supervision levels can be detrimental to low-risk offenders is the potential for increased exposure to other risk groups. Consider assigning specific reporting days to each risk group or set scheduled appointments. Another option to consider is referring individuals to external agencies for support, rather than commingling low with moderate and high risk individuals in group environments.

3. Division of resources. ‘Managing a caseload’ means managing your resources to maximize their impact. This doesn’t mean an even distribution; in fact, it’s the opposite of even. A disproportionate amount of your time, available services, and intervention strategies should be spent on your high to moderate-high risk offenders. Recognizing the impact of risk can help ensure your agency’s resources are utilized efficiently and effectively.

Individualized planning is essential to lowering recidivism in your community. It’s most effective when you’re balancing the case-view with the caseload-view.

Need more strategies to effectively manage your caseload? We can help. Contact us anytime to talk through your current supervision needs.

¹Probation and Pretrial Services Office, Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts