Throughcare Support Officers in Scottish Prisons
Feature Photo: ‘Life’s Puzzle’ by South Fort Street, Gowrie Care – HSEU No Place Like Home Photography Competition 2012
The role of the Throughcare Support Officers (TSOs)
The Throughcare Support Officers’ role is to support people on their journey into desistance by working with those serving short term sentences to prepare for and successfully make the transition from custody into the community. The TSO service aims to encourage desistance, reduce the risk of a person reoffending and to support recovery and reintegration into communities.
The TSOs use a case management approach, working collaboratively with the service user, their family, statutory and third sector service partners, to discuss appropriate support provision and to develop a personalised plan to support the person during their transition from custody back in to the community. A copy of the SPS Throughcare Support Service Strategy is available on the SPS website.
Developing links between TSOs and Third Sector Partners
The effectiveness of the TSO’s role depends on having strong links with partners working in both the prison and the community. To-date, Third Sector partners have engaged with TSOs in a range of ways. This has included:
- Participating in case conferences
- Providing information on relevant issues affecting people leaving prison (e.g. housing, welfare and health)
- Providing and receiving case referrals
- Joint delivery of the Low Moss Throughcare Service
- Contributing to TSO training activities and supporting TSOs to get to know community based services.
If you are a Third Sector organisation delivering services for people in custody or for those returning to their community from prison, it may be helpful to develop links with your local TSOs. CJVSF can link Third Sector service providers in with the relevant Throughcare Support Officer for their area. Please contact us for more details.
Research and evidence relating to TSO support
The TSO model was initially tested in Greenock Prison before being rolled out across SPS establishments. The SPS Throughcare Support Service was independently evaluated in 2017. The evaluation report is available on the SPS website.