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Sunday, April 12, 2015

CJ Admin - Week 2 Discussion 1 - Challenges To CJ Mission

The primary focus for any organization is to accomplish the task for which the group was organized for; this should be obvious, but growth complex and politics can interfere with this overall goal. For a criminal justice organization, this mission should be “to protect and serve”. The specific area of responsibility for each criminal justice organization will vary by jurisdiction and function, but the underlying responsibility is always to the public. There will be various factors which will make accomplishing this goal, both external and internal, factors which can contribute to other factors as will be shown shortly, but the most challenging tasks for the leaders of CJ organizations will be involved with adhering to this primary focus. The greatest challenge will be to maintain the ethics of the organization. It is when the officers of the organization fail to keep their primary focus of protecting and serving the public foremost in their duties, regardless of any other factors, that the organization fails. This issue can be confronted with solid leadership; “A key factor in assuring ethical practice is attention to staff accountability. High standards of conduct coupled with vigilant investigations for employee involvement in inappropriate activities is essential. A prison official once told me that 'staff will do what you inspect, not what you expect.' “ (Wright, 1999, para. 6 ) The issue of managing resources, which is an external factor, is almost as important as the maintenance of ethics to adhering to mission. Resource shortages can sabotage an organization in as short order as ethical failure. “Curtailing revenues nationwide have forced local governments to make cuts in spending across the board, which includes public safety operating budgets. While budget cuts threaten the jobs of law enforcement officers, the duties and responsibilities to ensure public safety remain” (the COPS Office, 2011, p. 3) Leaders need to use strategic thinking to overcome such challenges; “The important point is to anticipate problems that could interfere with service delivery, customer or employee satisfaction, or other significant aspects of the organization’s performance. Avoiding a problem in the first place ensures that valuable resources are not wasted (Campbell, 2006, p. 215) A third challenge that affects achieving the organizations goals is public perception of the organization. This is also a factor that can affect the resources allotted to a criminal justice organization, as mentioned above. The way that mass media can manipulate events can turn public opinion against a criminal justice organization. The mass media incitement to riot in Ferguson, MO was conducted by failing to note that the suspect that police shot had just finished assaulting and robbing a convenience store worker, that the suspect was 6'3”and approximately 200 lbs, and that the witness that accused the officer of an execution style shooting was an accomplice in the convenience store robbery. Video of the robbery can be found here: http://nation.foxnews.com/2014/08/15/watch-surveillance-video-strong-arm-robbery-tied-michael-brown (Fox, 2014) As a result of this media dishonesty and resultant rioting, police services in some neighborhoods have been replced by a racist organization. Leaders of CJ organizations must understand the roles the mass media play in our society and ways of dealing with them. An internal factor that can hinder achieving the mission is officer morale; unions can both help and hinder this effort; few studies have been done regarding the relationship between criminal justice leaders and unions and “only a few of those published discuss the positive role unions can and do play in working with management to solve problems, implement change, make reforms, and handle crises.” (the COPS Office, 2009, para. 2) A brief overview of other challenges contains but is not limited to; politcized selection of CJ leaders (who may not be focused on the CJ mission), overcriminalization which taxes resources, militarization of LE which causes tension with the public, possible politicization of the judical process, an “us versus them” cultural attitude which causes tension with the public. The two best tools that any CJ leader is going to use to overcome these challenges are an adherence to ethics and the ability to communicate. Campbell, N. (2006). Correctional leadership competencies for the 21st century: Manager and supervisor levels. National Institute of Corrections, DOJ. Retrieved August 15, 2014 from http://static.nicic.gov/Library/020475.pdf The COPS Office. (2009, September).Police labor relations: Interest-based problem-solving and the power of collaboration.Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, DOJ. Retrieved August 15, 2014 from http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/html/dispatch/September_2009/labor_relations.htm The COPS Office. (2011). The impact of the economic downturn on American police agencies. Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, DOJ. Retrieved August 15, 2014 from http://cops.usdoj.gov/files/RIC/Publications/e101113406_Economic%20Impact.pdf WATCH: Surveillance video of strong-arm robbery tied to Michael Brown. (2014) Fox News. Retrieved August 15, 2014 fromhttp://nation.foxnews.com/2014/08/15/watch-surveillance-video-strong-arm-robbery-tied-michael-brown Wright, K. (1999, June 22). Leadership is the key to ethical practice in criminal justice agencies. Criminal Justice Ethics. Retrieved August 15, 2014 from http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Leadership+Is+the+Key+to+Ethical+Practice+in+Criminal+Justice...-a060060343 ….............................................................................. Good contrast between the need for full staffing and adhering to the budget allocated. One issue affecting the staffing levels for correctional officers low the low quality of the recruiting pool;  a report on staffing retention in the corrections field by the MTC Institute points out that "75 percent of youth are unfit for military service due in part from low education levels and obesity, two areas that also impact screening for correctional personnel." (Nink, 2010, p, 2) Nink, C. (2010.). Correctional officers: Strategies to improve retention. MTC Institute. Retrieved August 16, 2014, from http://www.mtctrains.com/public/uploads/1/2010/10/CO%20Retention%202010.pdf There's an old joke about who gets put in charge of things: the brain, the hands, and the stomach are discussing who should be in charge of the body. "As the brain, the part that thinks, I should be in charge" "As the hands, the part that does the work, I should be in charge" "As the stomach, the part that produces energy for the both of you, I should be in charge" At this point, the rectum interjects "I should be in charge!" The brains, hands, and stomach just start laughing. So the rectum shuts down. The brain can't concentrate, the hands constantly shake, the stomach is in agony...so they give in and make the rectum the boss. The moral of the story is that you don't have to be smart or productive to be in charge, you just have to be an ***hole. However, there is a difference between leadership and effective leadership; a competent and smart leader is going to do a much better job of leading than someone who is not. You make good points about creating a safer work environment for staff by controlling the environment, such as a limited amount of prisoners in common areas at any given time. I tried to find a good study that compared prisoner's rights to effective environment control, but couldn't.  One example would be limiting prisoners to their cells at all times; feeding and showering included.  Is this a violation of prisoner's rights?  I don't know; I do know it would increase safety both for staff and other inmates. One website makes the claim that prisons can restrict some rights: "Prisons can make rules that restrict the exercise of prisoner rights, if: This is done for valid penological reasons like physical security and order, as opposed to reasons like controlling the private affairs of prisoners."  (Words, Ideas, and Things, 2013, para. 35) Words, Ideas, and Things: Turner v. Safley: Prisoners’ Rights and Penological Interests. (2013, July 22). Retrieved August 16, 2014, from http://wordsideasandthings.blogspot.com/2013/07/turner-v-safley-prisoners-rights-and.html

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