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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Week 2 Discussion: Goals

Consider this scenario. You are head of a planning team that has been asked to create a new drug treatment program. You ask your team to write a goal statement for the program. The following goal statements have been proposed:

  • The goal of this drug treatment program is to serve clients' needs and to educate clients about the harm that drugs cause.
  • The goal of this drug treatment program is to assist our clients in reducing drug dependency and eventually ending it toward living drug-free lives. 
Which goal statement do you think is more appropriate? Explain why you think the statement is suitable. Also provide an explanation as to why the other statement is not suitable.
Do the four components mentioned in the book—a time frame, the targeted population, the anticipated result, and a criterion—suffice to create an objective statement? Why?
Consider the following objective statement for checking recidivism to crime:
"The program will prevent inmates from committing crime, as measured by arrest or revocation of parole, for at least three years after they have been released back into the community."
In the objective statement example above, consider that some new components are to be included toward creating a more appropriate objective statement. Recommend at least two additional components that can be included to create an objective statement and provide a rationale for your recommendations.

Goals are “broad, abstract purposes of an intervention.”(Welsh, 2012, p.77). Both statements are broad and abstract, so either would be suitable for use. However, the second statement is slightly more appropriate, in that goal statements should “capture the intent” (Welsh, 2012, p.78) of a planned change. The reduction and elimination of drug usage is a clearer statement then the generic statement “serving needs” is, and suits the goals of a drug treatment program.

The four components of an objective (time frame, target population, result, and criterion) are both “measurable” and specific”...or should be, despite the manner in which a bureaucrat may define them...and thus “define clearly and concisely what outcome is to be achieved” (Welsh, 2012, p.82).

The recidivism objective statement includes a time frame of three years, a target population of “inmates”, a result of no crimes committed, and a criterion based upon arrests and parole revocations. All components are measurable, however, the result and the criterion can both be modified to be more specific. Does it matter which crimes are to be prevented? Does it matter if a violent parolee smokes weed? If a parolee commits a crime which does not violate parole conditions, does that affect the result condition?

Welsh, W. (2012). Criminal Justice Policy and Planning [VitalSouce bookshelf version]. Retrieved from http://digitalbookshelf.southuniversity.edu/books/9781437735000

There are two approaches to goal setting—a top-down and a bottom-up approach. With which of the two approaches do you agree? Why?
Is it possible to have a middle-of-the-road approach that is a combination of both approaches? Would a middle-of-the-road approach be beneficial? Why and how?
Read the following case study from your textbook, Criminal Justice Policy and Planning by Wayne N. Welsh and Philip W. Harris:
  • 2-1: Top-Down versus Bottom-Up Goal Setting: Responding to Negative Information about Conditions of Juvenile Confinement
With reference to the case study, answer the following questions:
  • Was the original goal setting approach used in the case top-down or bottom-up? How?
  • Why did Performance-based Standards (PbS) face resistance?
  • How did PbS address the resistance faced?
I would prefer, if I were limited to a solely between a top-down model and a bottom-up model the top-down approach, because a change-agent at the top is specificly responsible for defining th and achieving the goal. That person should also have access to information that those at the bottom may not have, such as political influences or information limited on a need-to-know basis. In addition, input from the bottom-up may include goals that conflict with the mission from those that aren't committed to the goals of the organization. Some “change-agents” at the bottom might include more paid time off as a goal, for example.

That is not to say that input from a bottom-up approach is invalid across the board. A combination of goal design from the top, but with input from the bottom (those actually in the trenches) is probably the best model. While “those in the higher levels of the organization have the most experience” (Welsh, 2012, p.84) input from the bottom may provide an up to date view of the situation, and counter the danger that “goals handed down from above may be unrealistic” (Welsh, 2012, p.84). In addition, considering input from the grunts and line supervisors lets them know they are valued members of the organization, and adds to their level of investment in the organization.

Despite the fact that not all JD's were labeled “super predators” as the study suggests, there are some things we can learn from the case-study. The goal setting standard was a top-down approach; “Leaders at the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) conceived PbS” (Welsh, 2012, p.95). PbS (Why “PbS” and not “PBS”?) faced resistance as agencies failed to provide data which they “feared” showed mistakes but not responses to mistakes (Welsh, 2012, p.95). This resistance was met by a “respected group of leaders to initiate and promote PbS”(Welsh, 2012, p.95), and who turned to “ the encouragement and belief in PbS by other juvenile CEOs that moved many agencies to join PbS” (Welsh, 2012, p.96).

Welsh, W. (2012). Criminal Justice Policy and Planning [VitalSouce bookshelf version]. Retrieved from http://digitalbookshelf.southuniversity.edu/books/9781437735000

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