Since the 1970s, case management has dominated as the preferred method of service delivery in youth justice and adult corrections in Australia and other OECD countries. It is widely touted as a supportive framework for the delivery of rehabilitative interventions; an effective method of service coordination and linkage; and a way to ‘bridge-the-gap’ in throughcare programs between institutional and community-based services (Turner, 2010). Despite its popularity, there is a dearth of research focused on case management in Australian correctional contexts and in particular, about the ‘lived experiences’ of the ‘case managed’. That is, virtually nothing is known about how correctional clients understand and experience case management. In the current era of ‘evidence-based’ criminal justice, it seems paradoxical that so little is known about an approach that fundamentally defines the way correctional services are delivered. This paper reports on some of the key emerging findings of a doctoral study that explored how youth justice clients understand and experience case management. By virtue of being both ‘young’ and ‘offenders’, youth justice clients represent a particularly disadvantaged and marginalised group in society; and their voices and views are notably absent from the public and other discourses that focus on youth justice and case management. This paper aims to contribute their perspectives to a wider audience and in doing so, argues for a broader understanding of ‘evidence’ in criminal justice research.
Biography: Shelley Turner is a Senior Lecturer and the Academic Coordinator of Social Work Field Education at Monash University. Prior to her academic career, Shelley worked as a practitioner, clinical manager and senior policy officer in youth justice for around fifteen years in Victoria and New South Wales. Her direct practice experiences and interests include: case management and working with children and young people ‘at risk' and in the youth justice system; reflexive and inter-professional practice and supervision in health and human services; therapeutic jurisprudence, drug and problem-solving courts. Shelley also worked as a consultant and contract researcher and is currently completing her doctoral study examining youth justice clients' understanding and experiences of case management. She is engaged in a range of collaborative, national and international research networks and projects, focused on correctional practice and social work field education.